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WELLINGTON, New Zealand— The Director General of Health of New Zealand stated that the country may not go back to zero coronavirus cases as the nation continues to combat the highly infectious Delta variant. 

The nation had already eliminated its COVID-19 cases last year and had been virus free, barring a small number of cases last February until the Delta variant struck in August, forcing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to implement a nationwide lockdown. 

Auckland, its biggest city, is still on lockdown as it continues to report small number of new cases everyday. 

According to Ashley Bloomfield, the Director General of Health, the nation may not go back to zero cases again but the most important thing, is to focus on its aim by locating infections, circulating contact trace, test, and isolate people so that the virus will not proliferate in the community. He also added that amid the outbreaks, they will also build up vaccination rates. 

Get that vaccination rate up over 90 percent…that’s absolutely our new means whereby we will be able to get back to the freedoms we had,” he mentioned. 

PM Ardern’s orders for lockdowns and shutting down their borders in March 2020 had helped in eliminating COVID-19. However, the government faces today a delayed rollout of vaccines.

Despite its delayed start, however, New Zealand has beefed up its inoculation with nearly 40 percent of the country’s 5.1 million population now fully vaccinated. 

Based on reports of the authorities, there were 23 new cases on Wednesday, all in Auckland, which has taken the total number of infections in the current outbreak to 1,080 cases. 

According to COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, the government is still not giving up in achieving zero cases and that’s what the nation is aiming for. 

(PHOTO CREDIT: rnz.co.nz)

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