Coronavirus live news: New Zealand cases drop for second day, Japan blames vaccine contamination on needles

Drop in New Zealand cases is ‘reassuring indication’ lockdown is working, country’s director-general of health says, Japan says it’s likely that Moderna vaccines were contaminated when needles were stuck into vials

Australia will ramp up its vaccination programme this week after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced it is set to receive 500,000 doses of the Pfizer jab in a swap deal with Singapore.

Canberra struck the deal, which will see Australia return the same amount of vaccine doses to Singapore in December, as daily cases reached near record levels for the country, the Reuters news agency reported.

That means there are 500,000 doses extra that will happen in September that otherwise would have had to wait for several months from now, accelerating our vaccination program at this critical time as we walk towards those 70% and 80% target.

That’s it from me, Helen Livingstone, for today. I’m handing over to my UK colleague Tom Ambrose.

Before I go, here’s a quick roundup of what’s been happening over the past 24 hours:

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