New Zealand ‘very close’ to deal for more COVID-19 vaccines – Reuters

A vaccination centre sign directs the public during a lockdown to curb the spread of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Auckland, New Zealand, August 26, 2021. REUTERS/Fiona Goodall

SYDNEY, Sept 7 (Reuters) – New Zealand is “very close” to procuring more coronavirus vaccines and a deal could be announced this week, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Tuesday, as the country looks to get on top of an outbreak of the Delta variant.

The government is in talks with several countries, Hipkins said, but he did not specify when it would make the announcement about a deal.

“We’re very, very close … within the next 24 to 48 hours, things should be locked down, locked and loaded. People will have some good news,” Hipkins told radio station Newstalk ZB.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday eased nationwide curbs, except in the biggest city, Auckland, after daily cases dipped to 20 on Monday from a peak of 85 on Aug. 29.

About 30% of the country’s 5.1 million people have been fully vaccinated, the slowest pace among the wealthy nations of the OECD grouping.

Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Peter Cooney

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