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Australia, New Zealand Face Surge in COVID Cases Despite 'Zero Cases' Policy

New Zealand and Australia Flags - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.08.2021
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Both New Zealand and Australia responded with stringent lockdown measures to a relatively small number of new coronavirus cases detected - a move that has received backlash.
Coronavirus cases continue to surge in Australia and New Zealand despite a so-called 'zero cases' policy used in both countries, envisaging strict lockdowns regardless of the number of new cases.
As the Delta variant continues to spread across the world, New Zealand registered 68 new coronavirus cases. Australia recorded some 1,000 new cases on Wednesday, the highest number for the pandemic in the country.
The surge in cases comes shortly after New Zealand's PM, Jacinda Ardern, last week re-imposed a nationwide lockdown amid the latest outbreak of Delta variant.
While Ardern said that the strict measures help in curbing the spread of the disease, Australian PM Scott Morrisson suggested that his country move toward easing lockdowns.
“Our goal [is] to live with this virus — not to live in fear of it,” Morrison said Monday, commenting on states in Australia entering and exiting lockdown. "We have to break this cycle. This groundhog day has to end."
Ardern also noted that lockdowns would not be used forever, but noted that the strategy to eliminate the virus will continue up to the point when the majority of the population is vaccinated.
"No one wants to use lockdowns for ever... that's not our intention," Ardern said. "But while we vaccinate, elimination is the goal."
Morrisson, however, offered unflattering comments about the "elimination" approach.
"Any state and territory that thinks that somehow they can protect themselves from Covid with the Delta strain forever, that's just absurd", he said. "I mean, New Zealand can't do that. They were following an elimination strategy. They're in lockdown. The way through is to get to those 70 percent and 80 percent (vaccination) marks and open safely."
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