New Zealand abandons 'zero Covid' strategy
The country will start to ease recently imposed restrictions shortly.
The New Zealand government have abandoned their 'zero Covid' approach to the pandemic, as the country copes with the Delta variant.
Previously, New Zealand operated a strategy which attempted to have zero cases of Covid-19 through strict lockdowns and contact tracing.
The plan worked well for the country throughout the past year. New Zealand only noted 27 deaths, which is low compared to other nations of similar populations.
Their initial approach allowed New Zealanders to return to offices, schools and public events while the rest of the world remained largely in lockdown.
Now however, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced plans to ease lockdowns in the capital, even as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.
The Delta variant recently began to spread in the country after it somehow escaped from a quarantine facility.
As it stands, there have been over 4,000 cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.
PM Ardern also pointed to the country's vaccination rates as a reason to abandon the 'zero Covid' apprach.
She said: "Elimination was important because we didn’t have vaccines. Now we do, so we can begin to change the way we do things. We have more options, and there’s good cause for us to feel optimistic about the future, but we cannot rush.
"That’s why we need to continue to contain and control the virus as much as possible, while we make our transition from a place where we only use heavy restrictions to a place where we use vaccines in everyday public health measures."
She added: "Vaccines will mean that in the future we can do things differently … but even then, our strategy remains: that while cases will continue, we want to control the virus, stamp out cases, and prevent hospitalisations, but with vaccines we have more options on how we do that."