New Zealand in national lockdown . . .
On Tuesday, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country would enter its highest lockdown stage at midnight after a single case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Auckland, the country’s largest city. Auckland and some surrounding areas will be locked down for seven days and the remainder of the country for three days, depending on the prevalence of community spread. Twenty-one positive cases have since been confirmed, with fears rising of potential super-spreader events from last weekend before the cases were identified, including at a church, a nightclub, and a large casino. Genome sequencing has identified the highly transmissible Delta variant as the culprit behind the outbreak, which originated from an Australian traveller who was quarantined in a hotel and is now in hospital.
Australia reports record spike in COVID-19 infections . . .
Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales reported a record 633 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday as concerns grow about the Delta variant’s spread beyond Sydney. The latest numbers top the previous record of 466 cases reported on Saturday. Meanwhile, as the city of Melbourne marked 200 days of lockdown, analysts looking toward next year’s federal elections note that political ratings are closely tied to the management of the pandemic, prompting some to say that vaccination now constitutes a “race to the polls.”
Fiji battles new surge . . .
Fiji’s latest reporting of eight deaths and 653 new cases paints a dire situation for the small island country, with a population of under 900,000. Since May, the outbreak has grown to over 42,000 cumulative positive cases and 421 deaths and has overrun Fiji’s already fragile healthcare system. A large shipment of medical cargo arrived in the country from Manila on Friday, including oxygen concentrators and accessories, blood oxygen sensing equipment, and personal protective equipment from the World Health Organization’s regional emergency stockpile. The supplies were brought in at the request of Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services, as the country’s transmission rate has been among the highest in the world.
- CTV News: Australian COVID-19 outbreak grows, spreads to New Zealand
- The Guardian: NSW Covid-19 update: Record high 681 new cases and one death as regional lockdown extended
- Radio New Zealand: Covid-19: Fiji reports 8 deaths and 653 new cases