A new variant that does not stop New Zealand’s reopening plan


The emergence of New Zealand’s Wellington-Omicron variant has not changed New Zealand’s plans to relax regulations in Auckland and move the country to a new, more open stage of pandemic response, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday. Said to.

Auckland’s bars, restaurants and gyms will be reopening at the end of Thursday, ending the COVID-19 blockade that began in August.

Nationwide, new “traffic light” systems put an end to the blockade, but people need to be fully vaccinated to ensure participation in everything from haircuts to watching concerts.

New Zealand has restricted travel from nine countries in southern Africa on Sunday in response to the threat of Omicron. Ardan said he did not expect any further restrictions.

She said New Zealand will continue to do basic things such as contact tracing, quarantine of infected people, and the demand for the use of masks in some settings as new varieties are further studied.

Mr. Ardan said Auckland and several other areas of the North Island will enter a new signaling system under the red light due to outbreaks or reduced immunization rates. Other parts of the country will be under orange light.

She said the past few months have probably been the most difficult country faced since the pandemic began, but while vaccination rates have improved, many sacrifices have helped stabilize the outbreak of Auckland. rice field.

“We have experienced COVID in the best possible way over the last two years,” Ardan said, pointing out low mortality, high economic growth and high vaccination rates.

Traffic light systems are designed to indicate where outbreaks are putting pressure on the medical system. The green designation imposes few restrictions, the orange requires more mask wear and distance, and the red limits the collection size.

About 85% of New Zealanders over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated.

The government announced last week that the country would reopen its borders to the world over the next few months, allowing displaced persons from January and tourists to return from April.

Nick Perry

Associated Press