New Zealand reports record 243 new COVID-19 cases

As Omicron expands throughout the Pacific nation, health authorities estimate that the number of cases will skyrocket.

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New zealand covid-19
(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

On Saturday, New Zealand recorded the highest number of 243 new COVID-19 community cases, with officials warning that additional instances of the highly transmissible Omicron strain are likely, but imploring residents not to worry.

Since early 2020, the five-million-strong country has kept its borders closed. On Thursday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern indicated that a complete reopening will take place only in October.

The coronavirus was contained by the border closure, which was supplemented with lockdowns and rigorous social distancing measures, resulting in slightly over 17,000 illnesses and 53 fatalities.

However, as Omicron expands throughout the Pacific nation, health authorities estimate that the number of cases will skyrocket.

New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, said

I urge people not to panic but to plan for that. The best thing you can do to prevent illness is to get vaccinated and get your booster.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, 93 percent of people above the age of 12 who are qualified have been completely vaccinated, and 49 percent of those over the age of 12 have had a booster dose.

By late Saturday, 81 deaths had been registered in neighbouring Australia, which has been battling with an Omicron wave for many weeks, with Queensland reporting 21, the greatest number of deaths in the epidemic.

In Canberra, Australia’s capital, an estimated 2,000 people demonstrated against vaccine requirements and other restrictions.

Vaccinations are still optional at the federal level, although several vocations and employees are prone to mandated vaccinations in states and territories. Many activities, including as dining out and attending concerts, are off-limits to those who have not been vaccinated.

Over 95 percent of Australians aged 16 and above have been double-dosed, with nearly nine million people receiving more than two doses.

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