To end the lockdown, New Zealand has set a 90 percent vaccination target.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern outlined a strategy to open up despite the Delta variant’s persistent grip on the country on Friday, setting a 90 percent vaccination target for removing lockdowns.
Ardern stated that her focus has switched from eradicating Covid-19 to reducing its spread in the community by increasing immunization rates.
She explained that because of the change, New Zealanders would no longer be subject to stay-at-home orders or company closures if they were properly immunized.
“We can’t expect those who have been vaccinated to stay at home indefinitely,” she told reporters.
Around 86 percent of New Zealanders who are eligible have received their first vaccine shot, and 68 percent have had two doses.
Ardern received great acclaim for her early coronavirus response, which included harsh lockdowns, meticulous contact tracing, and border controls.
In a population of five million people, the “Covid Zero” policy resulted in only 28 deaths, and family life returned to normal for long periods of time.
However, due to an epidemic of the highly transmissible Delta form discovered in Auckland in August, Ardern stated it was no longer sustainable.
“Its tendrils have penetrated into our neighborhoods, making it difficult to shake, even with the finest public health safeguards and the strictest limitations we had,” she said.
Ardern stated that the new strategy would provide hope to the nearly two million Auckland people who have been under strict lockdown for the past nine weeks.
“Get vaccinated if you want to go to bars and restaurants this summer,” she said.
“If you’re vaccinated, you’ll be able to do the activities you enjoy while knowing that the people you’re with and the surroundings you’re in are as safe as possible in the Covid world.”