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Health workers walk to people in their cars at a COVID testing station in Christchurch, New Zealand
New cases have steadily fallen from a peak of more than 80 each day Image: Adam Bradley/Sopa/Zuma/picture alliance
HealthNew Zealand

COVID: New Zealand reports 1st virus death in 6 over months

September 4, 2021

A woman in her 90s with underlying health conditions died, officials said. Meanwhile, a German man attacked a team offering vaccines for refusing to give him proof of vaccination but no shot. Follow DW for the latest.

https://p.dw.com/p/3zu73

New Zealand reported the first COVID death in the current outbreak and 20 new local cases of the delta variant, health officials said Saturday.

The woman who died was in her 90s and had a number of underlying health conditions. All of the new cases were in Auckland, the epicenter of the outbreak.

"Every death is a reminder of the damage COVID-19 can cause when it gets into our community," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement. She added that older citizens were at risk from the virus and that the ongoing lockdown was necessary to halt the spread of infections.

On the other hand, the island nation appears to be breaking the chain of transmission of the delta variant as infection cases dropped from 75 on Wednesday to below 30 on Friday and Saturday.

New Zealand had largely remained free of the coronavirus, barring a few cases in February. But the delta outbreak prompted the prime minister to announce a snap lockdown last month.

Auckland, a city of 1.7 million people, remains under a strict lockdown. Most public places are shut elsewhere as well.

New Zealand has reported 3,392 confirmed cases of COVID and 27 related deaths since the pandemic began.

Oceania

Australia's most populous state of New South Wales reported a record 1,533 locally acquired COVID infections on Saturday, topping the previous high of 1,431 cases from a day earlier. Around 120 people have died so far from the current outbreak that began mid-June.

Australia: Arrests at anti-lockdown protests

Asia

Mainland China reported 28 new COVID cases on September 3, the same as a day earlier, the national health authority said. The total number of cases stands at 94,982, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,636.

By Friday, China had administered a total of 2.092 billion doses of the COVID vaccine, data from the authority showed.

The former prime minister of Malaysia has been picked to head the country's COVID-19 recovery council, just weeks after he was removed from office after rising anger over his handling of the pandemic.

A cabinet decision saw Muhyiddin Yassin appointed as the coronavirus body's chairman, as well as a minister.

Japan plans to extend a state of emergency in and around Tokyo until the last week of September.

The Mainichi newspaper reported that the number of severe cases and the strain on the medical system have not eased sufficiently to allow the restrictions to be lifted.

India reported the biggest single-day rise in COVID cases on Thursday, with the southern state of Kerala accounting for nearly 70% of the new infections. Health officials warned about the spread of cases to other states and called for greater vaccination in areas close to the center of the outbreak.

Americas

Mexico added 17,409 new cases of COVID and 725 more deaths on Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country since the pandemic began to 3,405,294 and the death toll to 262,221. 

Authorities in Cuba launched a national campaign on Friday to vaccinate children aged two to 18 against COVID. Cuba's government set vaccination as a prerequisite to reopening schools. Children will receive one of the two domestically produced vaccines. 

Some cities in Brazil are providing booster shots of the COVID vaccine, even though most people have yet to receive their second jabs. The most populous city of Sao Paulo will begin the third shot on Monday.

Rio de Janeiro, currently the epicenter for the delta variant and home to one of its largest elderly populations, began administering the boosters Wednesday. The rest of the nation will follow next week.

Health workers in Hawaii have decried the lack of government intervention in curbing the spread of COVID. Before July, Hawaii reported a seven-day average of 46 daily cases. On Friday, that number stood at 881. Still, leaders have virtually made no changes to COVID mandates.

Europe

In Germany, a man attacked a mobile vaccination crew in Gera in the eastern state of Thuringia on Saturday, injuring two members of their team. The team was offering vaccinations to people in a shopping center in the city. Police confirmed the incident, first reported by a medical association.

According to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KV) in the state, the man approached the team and demanded they give him proof of vaccination, but no shot. Thuringia's KV said that when the workers refused, the man "flipped out," injuring one member of medical personnel and one volunteer. They were taken to hospital but also quickly released, the KV said. 

The man had given the team some of his personal details before the clash, meaning his identity was known. A police spokesman said that charges had been filed against him but that he was not in custody. Police said he also sustained mild injuries in the shopping center.

Germany also reported 10,835 new cases of COVID and 24 deaths on Saturday. The total number of cases now stands at 3,995,188 and deaths at 92,325.  

Poland will donate 400,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan to help boost vaccination rates.

The Polish Foreign Ministry said the donation is a reciprocal move after Taiwan donated medical equipment during the first wave of the pandemic. 

Slovakia, Czechia and Lithuania recently donated or said they would donate vaccines to Taiwan, which has repeatedly rejected offers of doses from China, saying it has doubts about the safety of Chinese-made shots.

A group of virus deniers and anti-vaccination protesters have broken into the building of Slovenia's public broadcaster RTV, triggering a police intervention.

The confrontation, involving about 20 people, happened Friday night evening in the capital, Ljubljana. 

The head of RTVS, Andrej Grah Whatmough, described the incident as "a grave attack ... which we condemn in the strongest terms."

How close is Germany to a vaccine mandate?

In Britain, the biggest supplier of influenza vaccines says it will postpone deliveries for up to two weeks due to a shortage of truck drivers, partly caused by the pandemic.

Medics say the campaign offering free flu vaccines is even more important this year, after lockdowns suppressed the circulation of flu in 2020.

The Netherlands designated the US as a "high-risk area" along with other fresh additions to the list on Friday. While travelers will be allowed to enter the country if they're fully vaccinated, they must still quarantine for 10 days. 

Also in the Netherlands, Finnish racing driver Kimi Raikkonen has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss this weekend's Dutch Grand Prix.

The 2007 world champion Raikkonen, 41, who is retiring from Formula One at the end of the season, was replaced in Zandvoort by Alfa Romeo's reserve driver Robert Kubica.

mm, rm/dj (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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