New Zealand reported the first COVID death in the current outbreak and 20 new local cases of the delta variant, health officials said Saturday.
The woman who died was in her 90s and had a number of underlying health conditions, authorities added. All of the new cases were in Auckland, the epicenter of the outbreak.
“Every death is a reminder of the damage COVID-19 can cause when it gets into our community,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement. She added that older citizens were at risk from the virus and that the ongoing lockdown was necessary to halt the spread of infections.
On the other hand, the island nation appears to be breaking the chain of transmission of the delta variant as infection cases dropped from 75 on Wednesday to below 30 on Friday and Saturday.
New Zealand had largely remained free of the coronavirus, barring a few cases in February. But thedelta outbreak prompted the prime minister to announce a snap lockdown last month.
Auckland, a city of 1.7 million people, remains under a strict lockdown. Most public places are shut elsewhere as well.
New Zealand has reported 3,392 confirmed cases of COVID and 27 related deaths since the pandemic began.
Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales reported a record 1,533 locally acquired COVID infections on Saturday, topping the previous high of 1,431 cases from a day earlier. Around 120 people have died so far from the current outbreak that began mid-June.
Mainland China reported 28 new COVID cases on September 3, the same as a day earlier, the national health authority said. The total number of cases stands at 94,982, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,636.
India reported the biggest single-day rise in COVID cases on Thursday, with the southern state of Kerala accounting for nearly 70% of the new infections. Health officials warned about the spread of cases to other states and called for greater vaccination in areas close to the center of the outbreak.
Mexico added 17,409 new cases of COVID and 725 more deaths on Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country since the pandemic began to 3,405,294 and the death toll to 262,221.
Authorities in Cuba launched a national campaign on Friday to vaccinate children aged two to 18 against COVID. Cuba’s goverment set vaccination as a prerequisite to reopening schools. Children will receive one of the two domestically produced vaccines.
Health workers in Hawaii have decried the lack of government intervention in curbing the spread of COVID. Before July, Hawaii reported a seven-day average of 46 daily cases. On Friday, that number stood at 881. Still, leaders have virtually made no changes to COVID mandates.
The Netherlands designated the US as a “high-risk area” along with other fresh additions to the list on Friday. While travelers will be allowed to enter the country if they’re fully vaccinated, they must still quarantine for 10 days.
Germany reported 10,835 new cases of COVID and 24 deaths on Saturday. The total number of cases now stands at 3,995,188 and deaths at 92,325.
rm/fb (Reuters, AFP, dpa)