After spending the 18 months of the pandemic free of any infections, New Zealand has topped the 1 million mark of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.
This new rank reflects a change in New Zealand’s dealing with the pandemic as more than 986,000 of the cases hit during thee months since the start of this year, 2022. The country started experiencing the rise ever since the Omicron variant breached the borders in December of 2021.
The government had also went ahead and loosened most of the restrictions in March. The 1 million milestone means that 20% of the population has been infected. However, modellers said the true number could be three times higher.
Despite the rise in cases, New Zealand’s death rate has remained relatively low. The total number of publicly reported deaths with COVID-19 is now 876. By comparison, Hong Kong recorded more than 9300 deaths for its population of 7.48m.
The low death rates has been assisted by its high levels of vaccination as 95% of adults are double vaccinated, with 70% having had the booster shot. This prompted director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield to thank ‘everyone in New Zealand who has played their part to keep our case numbers and rates low when compared internationally.’
Comparing locally, Malta has had 92,953 total cases of COVID-19, with 711 deaths associated with the virus.