Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: PM plays down similarities between NZ and Australia’s worst hit states

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is playing down fears that New Zealand could follow New South Wales and Victoria in being unable to eliminate Covid-19.

It comes as the number of cases in the community today looks set to go past 700.

Melbourne-based New Zealand epidemiologist Tony Blakely told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking he sees some worrying similarities between how the virus has been spreading in Sydney, in Melbourne, and now in Auckland.

Australia’s two most populated states have all but given up on completely eliminating the virus as they struggle to contain surging cases of the Delta variant.

He hoped New Zealand would do better and not “be living with the virus like us”.

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“I think you should be fighting it hard for another week,” Blakely said.

He also supported New Zealand continuing its elimination approach, at least for now.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is playing down comparisons with New South Wales and Victoria.

She told ZM’s Fletch, Vaughan and Megan the Australian East Coast outbreak has been going for longer.

They’ve been bubbling away for a while and haven’t been able to stamp out cases, so they’re keeping restrictions while they vaccinate, she said.

Auckland University School of Medicine Professor Des Gorman told RNZ that the country should be living in a no-trust environment.

Gorman said people crossing the southern border should be vaccinated and wearing masks and wear them properly.

“We need to know exactly where they are.”

Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio told TVNZ this morning that so far it was looking positive for Northland moving to level 3 from tomorrow.

Sio said a report last night showed the testing of sewage still looked positive for Northland, as well as the rest of the country.

“So all in all it’s positive.”

The Government will give an update on the number of new Covid cases in the community at 1pm.

Yesterday, director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield warned the numbers would still “bounce’ around but he believed it had reached its peak when 83 cases were reported on Sunday.

The 75 cases yesterday pushed the total number of cases in the community to 687, an increase on the 49 reported the previous day.

Speaking on TVNZ, Australasian College for Emergency Medicine president Dr John Bonning said the ICU had capacity at the moment, but was waiting for a potential further wave.

Bonning said while they were a lot more prepared this time, they did worry about some of the un-met healthcare need and if it got back to full business as usual with Covid on top of that, they would be a bit worried.

He said New South Wales was in a “very bad place” and if New Zealand hadn’t locked down when it did, hospitals here potentially may not have been able to cope.

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