Did New Zealand just abandon Delta elimination?

Auckland has been in a strict lockdown since 18 August but has been unable to eliminate the Delta virus:

NZ COVID cases

Yesterday, 22 cases were recorded – the third day in a row of over 20 cases. Five of Monday’s cases have yet to be linked, while of Sunday’s cases, six of them were infectious in the community.

Recognising that eliminating the Delta variant is unlikely, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern scaled back Auckland’s lockdown:

Auckland will move to Covid-19 Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday, September 21.

It will stay there for at least two weeks. The settings will be reviewed on October 4.

The area around Whakatīwai, where three people have tested positive for Covid-19, will go into a Level 4 lockdown until Friday…

The rest of New Zealand will remain at Delta Level 2, although the gathering size limit will be lifted from 50 to 100 people.

Cabinet made the decision following the Ministry of Health announcing 22 new cases in the community on Monday, including three cases in Whakatīwai.

Of the 22 cases, five are unlinked. Three of the five are from one family…

Victoria University School of Psychology Professor Marc Wilson [said]… “I think the alert level change is a good thing, or at least the best thing to do right now. That’s to say, we’re hearing a little about Level 4 ‘fatigue’, and about now is when I think it might be a good idea to drop to Level 3 – which is closer to Level 4, than 2 – to provide people with a breather.

“This may NOT be the right thing to contain the virus, however”…

University of Otago Public Health Professor Nick Wilson [said]… “The NZ Government is making a relatively brave move lowering the Alert Levels for Auckland – given that the outbreak is clearly not fully under control as seen with the recent spread into the north Waikato and also persisting mystery cases…

If level 4 didn’t eliminate Delta, then level 3 certainly won’t.

Unconventional Economist

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