Cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand have dropped, a hopeful sign as Auckland enters what the government has planned to be its last week of a level 4 lockdown.
Yesterday, the country confirmed 15 new cases — half of Monday’s 33 new cases.
At this stage of the outbreak, the government is particularly attentive to how many of those cases are clearly linked to existing infections, as unlinked cases could indicate that the virus is spreading unchecked through the community.
Yesterday’s cases were household contacts of existing cases, New Zealand Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said, and the total number of cases that remain unlinked across the outbreak is down to 10, from 17 on Monday.
The Auckland region is in its fourth week of a level four lockdown, the strictest level. The rest of the country left lockdown last week.
The government had made an “in principle” decision that Auckland would next week shift the alert from level four to level three, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
She also announced that the country would be launching “Mr Whippy-style” mobile vaccination clinics on buses, beginning in Northland, to try to reach communities where vaccines were less accessible.
“In Australia they’ve started operating something similar and have named the mobile outreach clinics ‘Jabba the Bus,’” Ardern said. “I’m sure that we can do better. We have some frontrunners: ‘Double Jab Ute,’ and ‘The Jabbin’ Wagon.’”
Choosing a full-fledged confrontation with the US due to the loss of a megacontract for submarines for Australia, France is making a risky bet and other nations are not rushing to its defense. After Australia renounced its deal for conventional submarines in favor of US nuclear-powered ones, France took the extraordinary step of pulling its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra for consultations. Bertrand Badie, an international relations professor at the Sciences Po institute in Paris, said France had put itself in a position where it can only appear to be backing down or losing face once its ambassador returns to the US,
Could delivering COVID-19 immunity directly to the nose — the area of the body via which it is mostly transmitted — help conquer the pandemic? The WHO says clinical trials are under way to evaluate eight nasal spray vaccines that target COVID-19. The most advanced effort so far by China’s Xiamen University, the University of Hong Kong and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy has completed phase 2 trials. “When the virus infects someone, it usually gets in through the nose,” said researcher Nathalie Mielcarek, who is working with the Lille Pasteur Institute to develop a nasal spray vaccine against whooping cough. “The
PLANNING TO REOPEN: Amid 1,607 new COVID-19 cases, the country is making a shift away from lockdowns, acknowledging that outbreaks will happen Australia reported 1,607 new coronavirus cases yesterday as states and territories gradually shift from trying to eliminate outbreaks to living with the virus. Victoria, home to about a quarter of Australia’s 25 million people, recorded 507 cases as Premier Daniel Andrews said a weeks-long lockdown will end once 70 percent of those 16 and older are fully vaccinated, whether or not there are new cases. Andrews said the state might reach that vaccination threshold around Oct. 26. About 43 percent of Victorians have been fully vaccinated, 46 percent nationwide. “We will do so cautiously, but make no mistake, we are opening this place
OLD WAYS: The Ministry of Women’s Affairs also seems to have closed, as its sign was replaced with one for the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice The Taliban have effectively banned girls from secondary education in Afghanistan, by ordering high schools to reopen only for boys. Girls were not mentioned in Friday’s announcement, which means boys would be back at their desks next week after a one-month hiatus, while girls would still be stuck at home. The Taliban Ministry of Education said that secondary-school classes for boys in grades 7 to 12 would resume yesterday, the start of the Afghan week. “All male teachers and students should attend their educational institutions,” the statement said. The future of girls and female teachers, stuck at home since the Taliban took