New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (Kovid-19) could be lifted if the vaccination rate exceeds 90%, news agency Reuters reported.
New Zealand is one of the least affected countries by the worldwide Kovid-19 pandemic. So far, 4,135 cases, 27 deaths, 3,819 recoveries, and 289 active cases have been registered here. On Wednesday, officials reported 15 new cases, all found in Auckland. In 2020, the government managed to eliminate COVID-19 and the country remained largely virus-free until the Delta variant hit last month, leading to a nationwide lockdown.
According to a report in the New York Times on Monday, Auckland will now be placed under a level-3 lockdown under the Kovid-19 rules, a four-tier system of government.
Under Level-3, certain businesses, including restaurants and retail outlets, are allowed to reopen using contactless collection methods. People are advised to stay at home and work from home under this level. However, they are allowed to visit supermarkets and some food retailers, banks, pharmacies, petrol stations.
The New York Times report states that the rest of New Zealand has been in level-2 lockdown for the last two weeks. Prime Minister Ardern said vaccination would replace the lockdown as the main tool against COVID-19, allowing authorities to isolate only those infected.
“If that rate (of vaccination) is high enough then we can move away from lockdown as a tool. The highest possible vaccine rates will give more freedom,” Ardern said.
New Zealand has seen a slow start to its vaccination campaign against COVID-19.
Currently, only 40% of the adult population is fully vaccinated and 75% of these have received at least one dose. A report by Stuff. Co.Nz states that there are more than 1.2 million people aged 12 and older who have not received their first dose of the vaccine.