New Zealand has reached a major milestone in its fight against Covid-19 as the nation marks its 100th consecutive day without a case of community transmission.
The country has not recorded any cases outside of managed isolation from February 28 to June 8, according to data from the Ministry from Health.
The achievement has put New Zealand on track to surpass its previous record of 102 days community-transmission free, which was set in August last year.
The impressive streak was last broken when a mystery outbreak emerged in south Auckland, plunging the city into a snap three-day lockdown.
New Zealand on Tuesday marked 100 days without a case of community transmission. Pictured: Aucklanders get out under level two and support businesses in Newmarket in March as the country enjoyed no new local cases
The country is two days away from surpassing its old record of 102 days without a case of community transmission, a milestone that was set in August last year. Pictured: Fans enjoy a Six60 concert in Auckland in April
There have been ten new cases of coronavirus recorded in recent returnees in managed isolation since the Ministry of Health’s last update on Sunday.
Four of the cases, which arrived from Iraq via Qatar on May 26, will be investigated after the travellers tested positive on days 11 and 12 of quarantine.
Under protocol, health authorities are required to investigate any cases detected after day 3.
The other six case all arrived within the past week, with routes including, Philippines, via Singapore, Russia, via United Arab Emirates, and India, via Qatar.
The new infections bring the total number of active cases in New Zealand to 22.
Ms Ardern has held off on receiving the vaccine until now, saying she wanted to wait until the rollout to the general population.
As the massive new drop of doses keeps NZ’s rollout on schedule, Ms Ardern has decided to get the jab as a role model to the population.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) will be vaccinated against COVID-19 this month
The New Zealand government on Tuesday confirmed they would receive a supply of a million doses from Pfizer. Pictured: New Zealand olympian shot putter Dame Valerie Adams reacts as she receives her COVID-19 vaccination in Auckland
Like Australia, NZ began its vaccination rollout in February, prioritising border and health workers, as well as vulnerable populations such as the elderly.
Last month, Ms Ardern said she wanted to ‘prioritise those who are most vulnerable or who are most exposed, but also demonstrate I consider it a priority and to be safe’.
Her stance contrasts with that of Scott Morrison, who was among the first to be vaccinated in Australia in February, doing so with an Australian flag face mask, and a green and gold polo shirt, showing support for the national netball team.
Both countries have enjoyed largely successful fights against COVID by global standards, but problems with their vaccine rollouts.
NZ’s national vaccination program is running at glacial pace, sitting at 119th in the world for first doses distributed per capita.
Ms Ardern’s government aims to complete high-risk and marginal populations first, before transitioning to a big bang in July.
COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins has confessed to nerves and anxiety around the buildup, and showed his relief at the confirmation on Tuesday.
‘This is great news and reassuring to see our vaccine supply ramping up,’ he said.
As the massive new drop of doses keeps NZ’s rollout on schedule, Ms Ardern (pictured) has decided to get the jab as a role model to the population
Ms Ardernwill be getting the Pfizer vaccine as a ‘role-model’ to her nation
‘It shows our plan for what is the biggest and most complex logistical undertaking ever by the health system is on track.
‘The drops will enable us to continue vaccinating Groups 1,2, and 3, while giving us the certainty needed to start the general population rollout as planned.’
Ms Ardern’s government has pledged to vaccinate every consenting adult resident in New Zealand this year.
Over the Tasman, Melbourne remains on track for a lockdown reprieve despite authorities linking an outbreak of the more infectious Delta COVID-19 strain to a hotel quarantine case.
Acting Premier James Merlino said authorities had genomically linked the West Melbourne Delta cluster to a man in his 40s who arrived from Sri Lanka on May 8.
He assured Victorians that the latest development was not a setback to the planned easing of restrictions for Melbourne and regional Victoria at 11.59pm on Thursday.
‘Today doesn’t change our plans. We remain on track,’ Mr Merlino told reporters on Tuesday.
Emma Cassar, the head of COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, said the infected man mistakenly opened his hotel room door early in his stay, but it would not have been long enough to transmit the virus.
‘The last 24 hours have been a flurry of activity … to make sure we cover off all bases,’ Ms Cassar told ABC Radio.
Victoria recorded two new locally acquired Covid cases on Tuesday – both linked to previously known cases (pictured, walkers in Melbourne)
She added health authorities are also tracking down the people who cleaned and restocked the plane that brought the infected man to Melbourne.
Two of the 12 residents who were on the same floor of the hotel as the infected man are also being followed up, as they did not have day 17 and 20 tests.
After testing positive on the same day he returned from overseas, the man was moved from the Novotel Ibis to the Holiday Inn ‘health hotel’ on May 9.
He completed 14 days of hotel quarantine and was released on May 23.
Genomic sequencing shows his infection is identical to one of two families linked to the North Melbourne Primary School, which has emerged as the epicentre of the West Melbourne outbreak.
However, it remains unclear how the virus was transmitted from the returned traveller – who lives in the Glen Eira area in the city’s southeast – to the infected family.
Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said there were four main theories, with the most likely being that the man transmitted the virus to a staff member while in transit or to a fellow guest.
The Delta variant outbreak now totals 14, though authorities are no closer to finding out how a family from West Melbourne first contracted the variant. Melburnians take to the park for daily exercise in Moonee Ponds on Monday
That person has then gone on to infect someone in the community.
‘I am very surprised it got out. But this is what we have, and we need to work out what has happened here,’ Professor Cheng said.
Acting Police and Emergency Services Minister Danny Pearson said no one who came into contact with the man has tested positive so far, including fellow plane passengers and crew, Skybus and hotel quarantine staff and other hotel guests at the Novotel Ibis.
Meanwhile, none of the guests at the Holiday Inn at the time of the man’s stay were infected with the Delta variant.
Mr Pearson said there was no indication that transmission had taken place inside either of the hotels as COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria continues to review CCTV footage and incident logs.
Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID-19 last year was sparked from leaks in hotel quarantine, leading to a major overhaul of the system.
Some 22,814 Victorians were tested on Monday and 21,192 received a vaccine dose at state-run sites
The revamped program restarted in December, only for it to be paused in February as a leak from the Holiday Inn grew to nearly 25 cases and triggered a three-day lockdown.
Last week, Victoria secured federal government support to construct a purpose-built quarantine facility in the state.
Victoria reported two new local COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, both linked to existing outbreaks and with limited community exposure.
One is a child linked to the West Melbourne outbreak, while the other is a household contact of a worker linked to the Arcare Maidstone cluster.
The state’s COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said a string of new exposure sites added to the list of more than 270 on Monday evening were linked to the new cases.
Some 22,814 Victorians were tested on Monday and 21,192 received a vaccine dose at state-run sites.