New Zealand: Delta strain looks like ‘a brand new virus’ as cases rise | Coronavirus pandemic News
The majority of the 41 new cases confirmed in the outbreak are of Samoan ethnicity linked to the Samoan Assembly Of God church.
New Zealand has recorded 41 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 148, said Chief Health Officer Ashley Bloomfield, saying containing the spread of the Delta variant was “Like dealing with a whole new virus”.
Of the new cases, 38 are in Auckland and three in the capital Wellington, Bloomfield said at a press conference on Tuesday. The youngest case would be an infant.
The majority of confirmed cases in the outbreak are of Samoan ethnicity linked to the Samoan Assembly Of God church.
According to reports, there are 58 confirmed cases linked to the church. This included both those on duty and close household contacts.
Bloomfield was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper as saying he spoke with Australian Department of Health Secretary Professor Brendan Murphy on Monday about the nature of the Delta variant.
He agreed with Murphy that “fighting Delta in the community is like facing a whole new virus.”
“This is also our experience in New Zealand. Delta is different from our previous experience, it is, as we know, highly contagious and transmissible, and as we have seen, is spreading rapidly. “
Genome sequencing on the first reported Auckland case was reported to have been linked to a traveler who returned from Sydney, Australia.
On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered the extension of the country’s lockdown until Friday, when it will be reviewed depending on the emergence of new cases.
Ardern, however, said Auckland stay-at-home orders will remain in place at least until August 31.
“We are still at the heart of this epidemic,” Ardern said on Monday.
“We do not yet believe that we have reached the peak of this epidemic or necessarily the edges of it,” she said at a press conference.
New Zealand’s immunization program has been slower than that of many other developed countries despite recent acceleration. About 32 percent of people have received at least one dose of the vaccine while 18 percent are fully immunized.