New Zealand is set to introduce a new “traffic light” system that will significantly ease restrictions for vaccinated people from 3 December.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that the entire country, including Auckland, would move to a new framework that would be based on vaccine certifications.
Ardern urged people to download vaccine certificates, which will become important for people to move around freely.
“Vaccine passes will work in the traffic light system and if you are not vaccinated you will not be able to access a wide range of services,” Ardern said.
“The hard truth is that the delta is here and it is not going away. And while no country has been able to eliminate the delta completely, New Zealand is best positioned to deal with it because of our high vaccination rates and inbuilt There is a safety measure in the traffic light system.”
The announcement was much anticipated, especially for Aucklanders who have been living under strict lockdown measures since August, after the Delta variant found its first community case.
New Zealand abandoned its ‘zero-Covid’ strategy in October, but put its largest city, Auckland, under restrictions, slashing vaccination rates.
The government initially said it wanted to fully vaccinate 90% of the eligible population before moving to the new system. The health ministry has indicated it is on track to reach that goal by early December.
According to the ministry, already 83% of New Zealand’s eligible population has been fully vaccinated, while 91% have taken their first dose.
The government has issued a vaccination order in some areas for frontline health and education workers, which has led to protests in Auckland and Wellington.
205 community cases were recorded as of Monday’s announcement – the fourth highest daily case count since the start of the pandemic.
Credit : edition.cnn.com