New Zealand abandons total Covid-19 elimination strategy

Sydney, Australia, Oct 4 (EFE).- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday she was changing the total Covid-19 elimination strategy for a new model that takes into account vaccination rates to relax movement restrictions.

“Elimination was important because we did not have vaccines. Now we do, so we can start to change the way we do things. We have more options and we have good reason to be optimistic about the future, but we cannot rush,” the leader said at a press conference.

Ardern said that despite this change it is still necessary to “contain and control the virus as much as possible” for this transition in which vaccines are added to the restrictions to guarantee public health.

“Vaccines mean that in the future we will be able to do things differently, but even then, our strategy remains: as long as the cases continue, we want to control the virus, end the cases and prevent hospital admissions. With the vaccines we have more options,” shei said.

It is the first time the New Zealand government publicly acknowledges it is abandoning its total elimination strategy, which has earned it recognition as the most successful country in the fight against the pandemic, with 4,352 infections and 27 deaths.

However, authorities are unable to control the outbreak that has affected the city of Auckland since August, the worst since the start of the pandemic with 1,314 infections, 29 of them Monday, despite the strict confinement now in force for seven weeks.

Ardern said restrictions in the city will be relaxed in stages, with the authorization for groups of up to 10 people from a maximum of two different households to meet in the street from midnight Tuesday and the reopening of the centers of early childhood education.

Ardern said strict confinements may end when 90 percent of the vaccinable population receives the complete dose, a distant figure in a country where only 46 percent of those over 12 have received both jabs and 76 percent have received at least one. EFE


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