Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Latest case numbers, vaccine details to be revealed

The latest on Auckland’s Delta outbreak will be revealed at 1pm as experts suggest a drop in alert levels could be on the cards next week provided case numbers continue their fall.

It comes as a plane carrying 250,000 urgently-needed Pfizer vaccine doses arrived from Spain this morningin Auckland.

The extra Pfizer supplies were sourced from Spain in a Government deal announced yesterday to keep up with surging vaccine demand.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson and director of public health Caroline McElnay will front today’s update on the current outbreak.

On Thursday just 13 new cases were revealed, continuing a steady decline over the past week.

Testing numbers have also dramatically increased as authorities work to stamp out any risk of undetected community spread.

Experts say all things going well the virus could be again eliminated in the next few weeks, and more positive news could point towards dropping alert level in Auckland come Cabinet’s meeting on Monday.

“Sometime over the next couple of weeks, we will eliminate it,” University of Auckland Covid-19 modeller Shaun Hendy says.

He told TVNZ’s Breakfast that the system and people working on the frontline – essential workers and medical staff carrying out Covid tests, for example – had done “an incredible job” that was now reeling in results.

He said it was “certainly possible” that Auckland could drop down to level 3 as early as next week.

New Zealand was seeing the tail-end of this current Covid outbreak, he said.

He acknowledged that even he was surprised – as were other Covid modelling experts – at the positive signs that New Zealand was about to eliminate Covid in the community again.

Meanwhile, achieving the highest possible vaccination rate is “absolutely critical” to any plans to start reopening the borders, says a public health expert.

That task will become easier this morning when an extra 250,000 Pfizer vaccines are due to arrive from Spain, followed by an even larger shipment due next week from a different country.

The extra supplies are in addition to the 10 million originally purchased directly from Pfizer.

Professor Nikki Turner said the extra vaccinations meant the country could now keep up with the surging demand since Delta arrived here.

The shipment is in addition to the 10 million originally purchased directly from Pfizer.

While Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern would not reveal the price, she said it came with “no premium” compared to purchasing straight from Pfizer.

Another “much larger” shipment would be announced next week from a different country, Ardern said.

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