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New Zealand to retain current restrictions, reports first death in 3 months

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday retained the restrictions put in place to beat the spread of the coronavirus until at least mid-September, as the country reported a new death related to the virus.

Auckland, the country’s largest city and the centre of a fresh outbreak, will remain on alert level 2.5, which limits gatherings to no more than 10 people.

“The best economic response remains a strong health response. If we get it right we will ultimately shake off restrictions faster and lessen the risk of bouncing around,” Ardern told a news conference.

Other parts of the country will be under alert level 2, which requires people to observe social distancing rules and restricts gathering sizes to no more than 100 people. The settings will be reviewed on 14 September.

New Zealand’s health ministry said a man in his 50s had died in an Auckland hospital on Friday due to Covid-19. He was linked to a known Auckland cluster and was in intensive care for the last few days. His death takes the number of COVID-19 related fatalities in the country to 23.

The ministry also reported five new Covid-19 cases on Friday – three cases of community transmission and two imported cases at managed isolation facilities. The country has had 1,413 coronavirus cases so far, of which 112 are active.

Meanwhile, the risk of dying from Covid-19 is at least 50% higher for Māori than New Zealanders from European backgrounds, according to a study from The Conversation published today.

Māori and Pacific populations are historically at greater risk of hospitalisation and death from pandemics. During the 2009 influenza pandemic, the rate of infection for Māori was twice that of Pākehā (European New Zealanders). Māori were three times more likely to be hospitalised and almost three times more likely to die.

Their results show that if Covid-19 were allowed to become more widespread in New Zealand, it would have a devastating impact on Māori and Pacific communities.

Read more via The Guardian

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