WELLINGTON, New Zealand: New Zealand has reported a significant drop in new COVID-19 cases in recent days.
A total of 28 new cases were reported on Friday, compared to 49 on Thursday and 75 on Wednesday.
The country is breaking the chain of transmission of the highly infectious Delta variant, officials said, noting 27 new cases were recorded in Auckland and one in Wellington.
During a news conference, Director of Public Health Dr. Caroline McEnlay said, “While the fall is encouraging, we are mindful that these outbreaks can have a long tail. We are being successful in breaking the chain of transmission,” as quoted by Reuters.
Until the arrival of the Delta variant, New Zealand had been largely free of coronavirus, except for a small number of cases.
However, following a jump in Delta virus cases, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered a snap lockdown last month.
While curbs have been eased in most areas of the country, schools, offices, cafes, restaurants and all public venues are to remain closed, with most New Zealanders being asked to stay indoors.
However, some 1.7 million residents of the country’s largest city, Auckland, still remain in strict level 4 lockdown.
New Zealand’s international border closure, which began in March 2020, along with Arden’s lockdowns, were credited with curbing the spread of COVID-19, but the government faces questions over a delayed vaccine rollout that has left most of the public unvaccinated.
Just over 25 percent of New Zealanders, or 5.1 million people, have received both vaccine doses, which is the lowest rate among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development developed nations.