EpidemicNew Zealand drops ‘zero-covid’ policy
The government wants to contain and eradicate the virus. He also announced that he would end Oakland’s confinement at the beginning of December.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday that New Zealand will end a three-and-a-half-month lockdown in Auckland, the country’s largest city, in early December with the adoption of a new coronavirus strategy.
Ms Ardern said that from 11:59pm on December 2, New Zealand will adopt a new Covid-19 response aimed at containing the delta variant rather than trying to eradicate it entirely. “The hard truth is that the Delta version exists and it’s not going away any time soon,” she told reporters. “While no country has succeeded in completely eliminating the delta variant, New Zealand is in a better position than most countries to deal with it.”
40 dead “only”
So far, his government aims to completely eradicate the virus, the so-called “zero Covid” policy, with strict containment measures, strict contact tracing and strict border controls.
The disease has claimed just 40 lives out of five million people, but pressure has grown to end the lockdown on Auckland since the delta variant was discovered there in August.
83% have been vaccinated
Ms Ardern originally planned to change the policy, once the vaccination rate of 90 percent in the country was reached, but eventually introduced reopening when the vaccination level is currently around 83 percent.
The new system looks like traffic lights, with green effectively indicating no control over the virus, orange requiring masks to be worn in certain places and red allowing businesses to remain open only to vaccinated customers and observing social distancing.
The prime minister said Auckland would initially be placed in red, adding that authorities were still rating other areas. The city is currently isolated from the rest of New Zealand, and roadblocks are due to be lifted on December 15.
Strict quarantine rules for international arrivals will remain in place, but Ms Ardern has pledged to ease them early next year.
(France Press agency)
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