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New Zealand may never return to zero active Covid cases, the country’s top health officials have said, as the Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread despite strict government restrictions.

New Zealand had largely eliminated Covid last year and had been virus-free for months. He reported his first case since February on August 17, prompting Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to impose a strict lockdown. Still, there have been over 1,000 cases, including community spread since then.

“We may not be going back to zero, but the important thing is that we will continue to find infections and basically continue to contact to find, test and isolate people in order to stop the virus from circulating in the community… c ‘is the goal, “he added. Ashley Bloomfield, the chief health officer, told Radio New Zealand on Wednesday.

Bloomfield added that the government is also aiming to increase vaccinations. “Raising this vaccination rate by over 90% … this is absolutely our new way in which we will be able to regain the freedoms that we had,” he said.

However, at a press conference later today, Chris Hipkins, the Covid response minister, qualified Mr Bloomfield’s assessment. “We are not giving up on coming down to zero. This is absolutely what we are looking for, ”said Mr. Hipkins.

New Zealand reported 23 community cases and one border case on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections in the current outbreak to 1,108. Overall, since the start of the pandemic, there have been 3,763 coronavirus case in New Zealand. The country has only recorded 27 deaths from Covid.

All of the latest community-based cases have been reported in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. The city, which has been reporting about 20 cases a day for several days now, has been locked up for a month. The restrictions were relaxed slightly on Tuesday.

Although New Zealand has been praised for curbing the spread of Covid, experts have expressed doubts about its ‘zero Covid strategy’. The strategy is to impose strict travel closures and bans and close its borders. New Zealand nationals stranded abroad must request their return through a program with a very limited number and undergo weeks of quarantine at the hotel.

Due to its strict isolation strategy, the country has been more or less cut off from the rest of the world since March 2020. Last month, Ms Ardern announced that the country would allow entry without quarantine to vaccinated travelers from countries with low risk. only at the beginning of 2022.

The Prime Minister has also been criticized for the slow deployment of the vaccination. So far, 32% of New Zealand’s 5 million people have received two injections of the coronavirus vaccine, according to The Guardian. About 60 percent received an injection.

The Independent Gt