New Zealand Changes COVID-19 Response Strategy

New Zealand said that it will be focusing on living with COVID-19 and control its spread rather than strategizing to eliminate the virus due to the persistence of the Delta variant in the country. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a news conference that returning to zero cases is difficult due to the rapidly spreading variant, and that a change in approach is needed, with the help of vaccination efforts. 

Ardern said that her plan was to aggressively put a stop to the virus spread, and that it was not about having zero cases. She added that strict health protocols and lockdowns will end once 90 percent of the populace have been immunized. 

Ardern described the Delta variant as a tentacle that is “incredibly hard to shake.” She also said, “It’s clear that a long period of heavy restrictions has not got us to zero cases. But it’s okay. Elimination was important because we didn’t have vaccinations. Now we do. So we can begin to change the way we do things.”

New Zealand was among select countries that was able to bring their virus cases down to zero in 2020 and stayed COVID-free until the Delta variant was recorded in the country.

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