New Zealand wants to learn to live with virus, waives total elimination
New Zealand announced on Monday that it is easing its corona policy – the goal is no longer to completely eliminate the virus. That means the country will no longer rely on freedom restrictions such as strict lockdowns until the virus is completely extinguished, Reuters news agency reported. The virus will have to be lived with, the government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has decided. She is committed to increasing the vaccination rate.
New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world to bring the number of corona infections to zero in 2020. But the Delta variant has been causing new outbreaks since mid-August. A return to zero infection cases is incredibly difficult, Prime Minister Ardern said in a press conference on Monday.
Fifty new infections were reported over the weekend. 29 infections were added on Monday, bringing the total number to 1,357. The government is now focusing on increasing vaccination coverage. The lockdown in Auckland, which has a population of 1.7 million, will also be lifted in three phases. From Wednesday, residents will be allowed to gather outside with a maximum of ten people from two households.
Strict lockdowns will only be completely released with a local vaccination rate of 90 percent. At present, only 48 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. The slow rollout of the vaccination strategy has seen Ardern’s popularity plummet in recent months.
72 travel companies are suing the state over travel advisories
72 travel companies are suing the state because they believe the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is giving wrong travel advice, they have announced on sunday. The stumbling block is the advice for countries outside the European Union (EU), which the companies say is dated and “from the time when there were no vaccines.”
The travel organizations want the government to distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated in travel advice. The risks are more limited for people who have been vaccinated and therefore they should also be able to travel safely outside the EU, the companies say. A travel advice from the government is not binding, but it does ensure that it discourages travelers from going anyway.
The companies state that the quarantine obligation no longer applies to vaccinated persons in many countries outside the EU. They argue for a review of the advice and hope to bring this about through the courts. The State can expect a summons this week. In a response to the criticism State Department says it is already working on a new travel advice mechanism, which is expected to come into effect “late October or early November”.
Welcome to this blog
In this blog, the editors of NRC the news about the coronavirus. The European Medicines Agency EMA is expected to issue an opinion on the so-called booster shot from Pfizer around 3.30 pm on Monday. It was also announced that 72 travel companies will sue the state for travel advice, which they believe is outdated and does not take enough account of people who have been vaccinated against the virus.
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