New Zealand, which until now was a model with its “zero COVID” strategy, is now resorting to a mass vaccination campaign to combat the Delta variant.
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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted this week that her country has finally failed to stop the coronavirus with its zero covid strategy.
In August, the highly contagious delta variant spread rapidly across the archipelago, straining the healthcare system. Especially since only one in five New Zealanders was fully vaccinated.
The spread required alert levels in different parts of the peninsula. Seven weeks of strict containment have been imposed on Auckland, the most populous city in the country.
As of October 7, New Zealand had 376 active COVID-19 cases, for a total of 4,480 cases since the start of the pandemic.
So far, the country has established itself as a global model because it has not registered any COVID-19 cases for six consecutive months, in early 2021, thanks to its strict border controls.
His 27 deaths, compared to the 11,405 reported deaths in Quebec, have earned the young Labor Party leader a wave of popularity dubbed “Jacinda-mania.”
Since then, discontent has replaced enthusiasm among the population and some 2,000 New Zealand protesters protested against the shutdown last weekend.
Jacinda Ardern called the protest a “real slap in the face” for those who obeyed the restrictions that prohibit meetings, reported AFP.
He said Auckland would remain in confinement, but the government would consider lifting certain measures each week.
The 41-year-old prime minister replaced the goal of “zero COVID” with a massive vaccination campaign, to the satisfaction of those who deplored the government’s laxity on the issue.
In August, only 20% of New Zealanders were fully immunized, one of the lowest rates among developed countries.
As of October 7, this percentage reached 70%. New Zealand is ahead of Germany and the United States, which have a vaccination rate of 68% and 64%, respectively.
“Eliminating the virus was important because we didn’t have a vaccine, now we do, so we can start changing the way we do things,” Ardern told reporters.
COVID-19 in New Zealand
- The country has 5 million inhabitants
- 4,480 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic
- 376 active cases
- 27 deaths
(Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health)
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