New Zealand abandons its zero-Covid strategy

New Zealand abandons its zero-Covid strategy

Posted on October 4, 2021, 5:01 pmUpdated on October 4, 2021, 6:08 PM

Aucklanders will be able to get out again. From Wednesday, meetings between two homes will again be allowed in New Zealand’s largest city, although only outdoors are allowed and must remain limited to ten people. Outdoor activities can also resume, and children will find their way back to the nursery, supported in groups of ten.

Subject to strict containment for seven weeks, Aucklanders will therefore find some liberties with the official abandonment of the “Zero Covid” strategy announced by the New Zealand government. This strategy, which is no longer applied by a handful of countries in the world, including China, amounts to imposing strict domestic containment as soon as a single case of contamination emerges. Australia decided a month ago to abandon it after an outbreak of cases.

case outbreak

So far, this strategy has proven very effective in New Zealand: the archipelago of five million people has recorded only 27 deaths since the start of the epidemic and no cases were detected during the first half of this year. But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern argued in a statement, that the Delta version “changed the game”. Speech announced on Monday.

The most contagious variant appeared on New Zealand soil in mid-August via a traveler from Australia, despite quarantine measures in place. Immediately, Jacinda Ardern decreed the strict containment of all of New Zealand.

Originally scheduled to run for three days, it was extended across the archipelago and then to Auckland only as new cases of contamination emerged. Until then, limited to less than 3,000 since the start of the pandemic, it has risen sharply and now exceeds 4,300. It is enough to call into question the maintenance of the “zero Covid” strategy, recognized at the end of August, the New Zealand minister in charge of combating Covid-19. Critics have also escalated in opposition and in the streets, with protests last weekend in major cities across the country, including confined Auckland.

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Slow start to immunization

On Monday, Jacinda Ardern justified her change of strategy by vehemently the alternative, but also by advancing a vaccination campaign. “It was important to eliminate her [le virus] Because we didn’t have a vaccine. Now we have it, so we can start changing the way we act,” she said. She said that the proportion of the population vaccinated in the capital doubled during the seven weeks of confinement. They are now 84% who have received one dose and 52% both doses.

Across the archipelago, just over 40% of the population is vaccinated, a rate that is still lower than most other developed countries (65% in France and the United Kingdom, 64% in Germany, 61% in Japan, and 55% in United States. States, etc.). The slow start of the prime minister’s vigorous popular campaign also shook the Labor Party.

Two more phases of de-counterfeiting are now expected, on dates yet to be determined, for the gradual reopening of shops and the resumption of large gatherings, both indoors and outdoors. New Zealanders will then apply the strategy of virtually the rest of the planet – the strategy of “living with” the virus.

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