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New Zealand, Australia struggle with new coronavirus outbreaks




New Zealand reported 7 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 over the previous 24 hours, as a lockdown in the country’s biggest city, Auckland, was extended yesterday in response to the country’s first coronavirus outbreak in months. The new cases bring New Zealand’s total infections since the beginning of the outbreak to 1258; the number of currently active cases stands at 56. 22 people have died so far.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told a media briefing in the capitol, Wellington, that 6 of the new cases have been linked to the Auckland cluster responsible for all the previous community cases this week, while 1 case is being investigated.

The lockdown in Auckland, home to 1.7 million, was extended for nearly 2 weeks, and follows the discovery on Tuesday of the country’s first infections in 102 days, in a family there.

New Zealand neighbouring Australia have suffered far less death and disease from the pandemic than many other nations, thanks in part to swift lockdown measures. Although economically damaging, the measures significantly raised public trust in the leaders of both countries.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is now under pressure ahead of a upcoming general election, with the main opposition National Party accusing the government of failing to secure quarantine facilities and withholding information. And Australia’s second-most populous state, Victoria, still struggling after it became the centre of the country’s biggest coronavirus outbreak last month. Its capital, Melbourne, is under a strict 6 week lockdown and the rest of the state has limited public movement.

Victoria recorded 303 new cases and four deaths today, following 372 new infections and 14 deaths yesterday. While today’s numbers are well below the peak of 725 new cases seen on August 5 and there has been some stabilisation, state authorities still urge vigilance. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told a televised briefing:

“The signs are encouraging but it is not over. There is a long way to go and the only thing that wins if we get fatigued, if we were in a sense to give up, the only thing that wins is the coronavirus.”

SOURCES: Thai PBS World | Reuters


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  1. Stocazzo

    Sunday, August 16, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Oh my God, Mr Jack Burton! How can you publish something like “NZ is struggling with a new covid outbreak” with 7 cases (positive to test or effectively sick?)???
    You’re contributing to spread terror in the world for the sake of few clicks on your site…

  2. Jase

    Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 2:39 am

    NZ struggling? Not at all. We were never that naive to think a second wave Would not take place. Much like other countries. And Thailand’s not exempt from this happening either. But NZ is showing how you act quickly and get on top of another wave. Come back in a few weeks and you will see how NZ has effectively dealt with this second wave. But to label us as struggling is way off the mark. Have you been reading our headlines lately. Have you noticed we are at levels 2 and 3 lockdown? I’m sitting in a busy cafe whilst writing this. I don’t see a struggle going on around me.

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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