New Zealand is ceasing efforts to eradicate the coronavirus. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday that due to the strategy change, some lockdown measures in the city of Auckland could probably be relaxed in the coming weeks.
The new strategy comes down to learning to live with the presence of the virus but limiting its spread as much as possible.
New Zealand managed to temporarily reduce the number of corona cases to zero in the past year. But an outbreak of the extra contagious Delta variant in August threw a spanner in the works. “With this outbreak and the Delta variant, it’s challenging to go back to zero,” Ardern said at a news conference. “This is a change in approach that we’ve always wanted to make over time. However, the Delta outbreak has accelerated this transition.”
29 new corona cases were reported in New Zealand on Monday. This brings the total number of infections during the current outbreak in the country to 1357. The majority of cases occur in Auckland, which has been in lockdown for almost 50 days.
The current vaccination campaign should support the new strategy, Ardern emphasized. According to the government website, 67 percent of people in New Zealand over the age of 12 have had one shot so far. In addition, 40 percent are fully vaccinated.