New Zealand ‘Hold our nerve’: Major jump in NZ’s virus cases
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‘Hold our nerve’: Major jump in NZ’s virus cases

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All of Wednesday's cases were in Auckland, which is into its seventh week of lockdown. Photo: Getty
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New Zealand’s COVID-19 Minister has urged Kiwis to “hold their nerve” after a major jump in community COVID-19 cases to 45.

Chris Hipkins said the jump from eight on Tuesday to 45 on Wednesday was “sobering”, but wouldn’t change NZ’s elimination strategy.

“We have seen blips already in this outbreak … and it’s gone down again,” he said.

“We’ve still got to hold our nerve here … we’re still pursuing COVID-19. We’re still aiming to run it into the ground.”

It is New Zealand’s highest daily figure since September 2.

“While the overall number today is obviously a lot higher, it is important to note many of these cases are linked to existing cases and in some sense, they were expected,” director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said.

“What’s even more important is that we found these cases because people came forward and were tested.”

All of the 45 cases were found in Auckland, with 33 known to be close or household contacts of existing cases.

Interviews are underway with the 12 cases yet to be linked back to the outbreak.

Dr Bloomfield said 12 infections came from just two families, and several others were from transitional or emergency housing.

On Wednesday, about 1.7 million Aucklanders entered their seventh straight week of lockdown to fight the Delta outbreak.

Auckland shifted from a tough alert level four lockdown to a level three lockdown, which allows for more business and in-person education, one week ago.

Dr Bloomfield urged employers of essential workers to allow their staff members to “get vaccinated today”.

“Now that Auckland is at alert level three, some of our cases today may have been working at essential or permitted businesses during their infectious periods,” he said.

“This emphasises the importance of everyone in Auckland abiding by alert level three measures. They are there for a reason.”

There have been 1230 people infected in New Zealand’s Delta outbreak since the first case was found on August 17.

Health officials report 16 Kiwis in hospital with COVID-19, including three in intensive care units.

-AAP