The lockdown in parts of New Zealand will not end until 90 percent of residents are fully vaccinated. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Friday (local time) that the current warning levels would be replaced by a new kind of traffic light system.
More than 68 percent of New Zealanders are currently fully vaccinated, 86 percent have had one shot. The new traffic light system will be introduced in regions where more than 90 percent is fully vaccinated, and the lockdown will end. “Fully vaccinated people can then get together with friends and family and go to bars and restaurants,” Ardern said.
If the Prime Minister does indeed manage to get 90 percent of the population to get a shot, New Zealand will be one of the most vaccinated countries in the world. “We strike a balance between reopening and keeping our population safe,” Ardern said.
Since the start of the pandemic, New Zealand has successfully eliminated the coronavirus, leaving only 28 people dead from the effects of the virus. However, the authorities were unable to control a recent outbreak with the Delta variant of the virus. As a result, the metropolitan city of Auckland and some neighbouring regions have been in lockdown for more than two months.
The pressure from the opposition and the population to relax the measures and open the national borders increases. Except for a travel bubble with Australia, which lasted for several months earlier this year, New Zealand has been hermetically sealed off from the rest of the world for a year and a half. Only citizens and foreigners with valid visas can travel to New Zealand, and they must be quarantined for two weeks on arrival.