‘We’re breaking the chains’: COVID cases rise but NZ hopes to beat Delta

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New Zealand has reported 75 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, all but one in Auckland. One case in Wellington was a close contact already in isolation.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said a bounce in numbers – there were 49 yesterday, the lowest number in six days – was expected.

New Zealand Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield.Credit:Getty Images

He said it was clear it was still lower than the peak of 83 cases on Sunday, proving the reproduction rate was staying low. The rate was under 1 on Tuesday.

More than 70 per cent of Tuesday’s cases were already isolating and had not triggered new exposure site warnings.

Bloomfield said the latest modelling was “more positive news, showing we are breaking the chains of transmission”.

The country south of Auckland is on level-three lockdown, while Auckland and the Northland region remain on the toughest level-four restrictions, in which all school and childcare are closed and takeaway is not allowed.

There are checkpoints at the southern border of Auckland preventing non-essential travel and some people had been turned around, COVID Response Minister Chris Hipkins said. He said authorisation for essential travel had been provided to more than 3300 companies.

Inspector Kay Lane from Counties Manukau Police told local media outlet Stuff that about 30 people had been prevented from travelling across the border.

“We have five checkpoints in operation as Auckland and Northland remain in alert level four and the rest of the country in alert level three.

“Police were generally pleased with the compliance and most members of our community had the correct documentation ready to show police. We thank our community for this.”

More than 22,000 COVID-19 tests were taken on Tuesday, Hipkins said.

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