New Zealand has remarkably united in Prime Minister Ardern’s “zero COVID” policy

New Zealand has remarkably united in Prime Minister Ardern's "zero COVID" policy

The turnout for a public demonstration against the Corona measures in Auckland, New Zealand, which has been in strict lockdown for two weeks after one infection was discovered, was remarkable last week. Only one person appeared.

This lone protester can symbolize the support Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern still has among the people of New Zealand for her “zero Covid” policy. Within eight hours of announcing the first infection with the virus outside a quarantine hotel in New Zealand since February, the entire country was on lockdown. The strict policy has raised eyebrows around the world – British newspapers have ridiculed the lockdown over a single infection. But in our country it is not so bad with criticism.

The number of injuries is now more than five hundred. On Sunday, there was a daily record for this outbreak with 83 new cases. So all of the country’s five million residents will remain in confinement for at least another week. Auckland, the largest city, will remain under a strict regime for at least two weeks.

New Zealanders are only allowed to leave their homes to go to the hospital or supermarket. Contact with other families is prohibited. “Everyone should act as if they have Covid,” Ardern said at a news conference on Sunday. It does not rule out an extension of the procedures.

A team of five million

A recent opinion poll showed that a large majority of the population supports the prime minister’s plans. The country is remarkably united, thanks in part to Ardern’s charismatic effective communication. Since the beginning of the Corona crisis, I have always stressed the importance of a joint effort. Its motto is “The Five Million Team”. Everyone is required to suppress the epidemic.

Thanks to the ‘zero Covid’ policy, New Zealanders were able to live without corona even two weeks ago – albeit in a closed country. Only 3,100 infections and 26 deaths have been recorded in Corona since the beginning of the epidemic.

Criticism of Ardern’s policy does not come from the opposition, especially over the low vaccination rate of 21 percent. More than a million kiwis got two shots. New Zealand lags behind other western countries. It is thus the last among all the OECD countries, i.e. 38 prosperous democracies.

Surprisingly, there has been criticism from the Australian government, even though it, like New Zealand, has pursued a ‘zero Covid’ policy since the start of the pandemic. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently criticized Ardern. He said the coronavirus eradication policy is “absurd” and that New Zealand “can’t stay in a cave forever to escape the delta type of virus.” The pass may be related to Morrison’s efforts to steer Australia towards accepting the existence of Corona. He wants to reopen the country once 70 or 80 percent of the population is vaccinated.

I read here An overview of Ardern and its Covid-19 policy

Prime Minister Ardern does not pay much attention to criticism. “We can’t stay in custody forever, but we’re not planning on that,” she said. “We are deciding how to deal with this crisis.” Meanwhile, Morrison’s criticism increased support for Ardern in New Zealand. Commentator Andrew Gunn wrote on a news site: “Thank you for bringing us closer, ScoMo!” things. Morrison’s comment provides more incentive to fight Covid together.”

game changer

Ardern recognizes the Delta variant as a “game changer”. This type of Covid is so contagious that, according to local virologists, it must be fought as an entirely new virus. Procedures that worked a year ago now work less well.

If New Zealand wants to open its borders in early 2022, as Ardern recently announced, that country will also have to learn to live with Corona. But this would be a difficult transition for many New Zealanders who used to live in “Fort New Zealand”.

Ardern also wants to eventually move away from lockdowns, but says this can only happen after the majority of the population is vaccinated — possibly by the end of the year, she estimates. The higher the vaccination rate, the closer we are to a policy change. New Zealanders are listening. Since the new outbreak, the desire to vaccinate has been so high that it is questionable whether the supply can keep up with parenteral hunger. Since August 17, when the new outbreak became known, 14 percent of the 21 percent of people now vaccinated have been vaccinated.

Read this report also About Zero Covid policy in neighboring Australia

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