New Zealand will delay reopening its travel bubble through Tasmania as the number of cases in Australia increases and the numbers in New Zealand continue to fall.
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson confirmed on Friday that while the non-quarantine travel pause was due to expire next week, it will now be extended for at least another 8 weeks. New South Wales announced 1,284 new cases and 12 deaths, and Victoria announced 510 new cases. New Zealand reported 11 new cases in the country, all based in Auckland.
The coronavirus outbreak in New Zealand has exceeded 1,000 cases, but the number of daily cases has been on a steady downward trend. All of today’s new cases are in Auckland, and two have yet to be linked epidemiologically.
“We are approaching this outbreak, and … we can be cautiously optimistic about containing it,” said Public Health Director Dr. Caroline McElnay.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that “protecting New Zealand from any possible spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 is our top priority. We have made great progress in containing our current outbreak and are working hard to ease restrictions next week. Reopening non-quarantine travel with Australia at this time could put those earnings at risk. “
Robertson said it was “somewhat unlikely that in November we would make a quick decision [to reopen the bubble]but we want to continue to have the ability to evaluate it. “
New Zealand also reached a new milestone in the launch of its vaccine: more than 3 million people have received their first dose, or 69% of the eligible population (12 years and older). Just over 35% of the eligible population is now fully vaccinated.
Four new locations of interest outside of Auckland have been added to the Health Ministry’s Covid-19 website, after a truck driver who tested positive for the virus traveled out of the city, which is at a level 4 lockdown. , the highest environment. The driver, who is an essential worker and was allowed to go off-line, was transporting food to supermarkets in Hamilton, Cambridge and Tauranga.
Hipkins, who is also the Minister of Education, announced Friday that school holidays would not change due to the shutdown.
Hipkins had sought advice on how to bring the school holidays forward, after exhausted parents in Auckland expressed concern that students had missed too much class time due to the strict level 4 lockdown.
However, he said school holidays would start on October 2, in line with the rest of the country.
“Keeping vacations as they are will avoid disrupting plans that already exist for students, families and educators, including curriculum and activity planning and families planning their vacations, and will reduce anxiety,” he said.
“It also means that we don’t have to extend the duration of the fourth quarter, when fatigue among students is at its highest at the end of the school year.”