New Zealand’s borders are expected to remain closed for much of the year while measuring the global impact of the Covid-19 vaccination campaigns, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Tuesday.
• Read also: New Zealand registers first local case of COVID-19 in more than two months
Ms. Ardern explained that the appearance this weekend of a first case of contamination in more than two months testifies to the risk that the new coronavirus still poses for the archipelago which, so far, has largely succeeded in controlling the epidemic.
“Given the risks in the world and the uncertainty about international vaccination campaigns, we can expect our borders to be affected for a large part of the year,” she told reporters. .
Since March, the country’s borders have been closed to foreign travelers. Only New Zealand citizens are allowed to enter the territory.
Since the start of the pandemic, the archipelago, which has 5 million inhabitants, has a total of less than 2,000 cases and a total of 25 deaths have been attributed to Covid-19.
In the absence of foreign tourists, Ms Ardern said New Zealand will continue to allow travel under “travel bubbles” with Australia and the Pacific nations which have successfully contained the coronavirus.
However, she regretted Canberra’s decision to suspend the “bubble” which allowed nationals of the two countries to be exempted from quarantine following the appearance of the local case of contamination.
She is a New Zealander who recently returned from Europe and tested positive 10 days after completing her two-week quarantine in a hotel.
Regarding this case, Ms. Ardern said the situation is “well under control” and regretted the action taken by Canberra.
With “+ a travel bubble”, people must be assured that the borders will not be closed in a very short time for incidents that we think we can handle well at the national level, “she said.
New Zealand Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said 15 close contacts of the infected woman do not carry the virus, which has been identified as the South African variant.
He added that now research is being carried out on how the transmission was done, during his fourteen-day quarantine, and mentioned the hotel’s air conditioning system.