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Wellington (AFP) – Prime Minister Jacinta Artern announced on Monday that the three-and-a-half-month lockout in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, would be lifted in December by adopting a new corona virus control strategy.
He pointed out that on December 2, New Zealand would use a new response to Covit-19, which would rather than try to eliminate the infectious delta variant altogether.
“The hard truth is, Delta is here and it’s not going out,” the president told reporters.
“No country has been able to eliminate the delta variation completely, but New Zealand is in a better position than most to overcome it,” he said.
New Zealand’s response to the corona virus has been based on harsh prisons, strict surveillance of victims’ contacts and border closures.
As a result, only 40 out of a population of five million have died, but the pressure to remove the lock has increased in Auckland, which has been in effect since August when the delta variant was discovered.
Artern initially planned to follow the new method when the vaccination rate reached 90%, but set a December 2 deadline despite the current level being 83%.
Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said she was comfortable with the most important adjustment in COVID-19 policy since the outbreak began.
“You could say we’re going to get to this point in the best possible way,” Bloomfield said.
“We have controlled the outbreak, summer is coming and we have higher and increasing vaccination rates,” he added.
Artern said evidence of the vaccine will soon be needed to enter certain places, such as bars, gyms and restaurants.
Auckland is currently isolated from the rest of the country, but roadblocks will be lifted on December 15.
New Zealand will maintain the isolation requirement for expatriates, but Ordern has promised to ease that need early next year.
© 2021 AFP
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