New Zealand records 15 COVID-19 cases

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

New Zealand has recorded 15 new cases of COVID-19, continuing a path towards elimination of its Delta outbreak.

However, Jacinda Ardern's government has delivered grim news on the prospect of border re-openings with Australia.

On Wednesday, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announced the 15 cases in the previous 24 hours, the lowest figure since day four of the outbreak.

The number of hospitalisations is also slightly down, with 37 cases receiving care in Auckland hospitals, including six in intensive care.

The total outbreak has infected 855 people, with 218 cases deemed to have recovered.

Those recoveries mean that spaces are starting to free up in NZ's quarantine system, which should allow the government to release those places to overseas-based Kiwis hoping to head home.

COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins poured cold water on that idea, saying places in the managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) system remain unavailable "for the coming weeks".

New Zealand is putting on a "red zone" flight from Sydney to Auckland on September 15 for emergency cases who are willing to pay for a stay in quarantine.

For those seeking quarantine-free travel, the trans-Tasman bubble remains out of action.

Ms Ardern suspended the quarantine-free travel arrangement in July for eight weeks, a break that was due to end on September 18.

That won't be reviewed until later in September, and Mr Hipkins said "it would be unrealistic to expect that there'll be speedy decisions in the next few weeks about reopening".

"The reopening is a while away," he said.

"What we're seeing there (in Australia) and what we're dealing with here (in New Zealand) suggests that people shouldn't be holding their breath for borders between New Zealand and Australia to reopen in the immediate future."

The NZ case numbers have continued to trend downwards since a peak of 83 cases on Sunday August 29, allowing for the easing of lockdown restrictions outside Auckland.

On Wednesday, the 3.4 million Kiwis who don't reside in NZ's biggest city exited lockdown after three weeks, entering alert level two restrictions.

Level two allows New Zealanders to return to workplaces and educational campuses, and for the return of almost all business.

The outbreak continues to prompt New Zealanders to get their vaccinations.

On Tuesday, health authorities administered 72,893 doses, and in doing so, their four millionth dose of the Pfizer vaccine this year.

The government is aiming to vaccinate every consenting adult Kiwi this year.

More than half the population - 53 per cent - have had one dose of the two-jab treatment, and 27 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The health ministry said 75 per cent of the eligible population is either vaccinated or booked in for their treatment.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting