New Zealand To Keep Borders Closed For Most Of 2021, Jacinda Ardern Says
The country has so far not approved a vaccine, but has controlled the virus by taking a hard stance on travel and movement to protect its population.
Ms Ardern spoke in a news conference, telling the country's press that a vaccine could be approved as soon as next week.
The country confirmed its first new case of the virus in months in December.
The PM said: "Given the risks in the world around us and the uncertainty of the global rollout of the vaccine, we can expect our borders to be impacted for much of this year
"For travel to restart, we need one of two things: we either need the confidence that being vaccinated means you don't pass Covid-19 on to others - and we don't know that yet; or we need enough of our population to be vaccinated and protected that people can safely re-enter New Zealand.
"In the meantime, we will continue to pursue travel bubbles with Australia and the Pacific, but the rest of the world simply poses too great a risk to our health and our economy to take the risk at this stage."
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The recent case was found in a woman who had returned to New Zealand on 30 December. She tested positive for the South African strain after she had completed her two-week mandatory quarantine.
It appears that Ardern's strategy of dealing with the virus has paid off, with the country only reporting 25 deaths as a result of the virus - in comparison with the UK, which today (26 January) confirmed it had surpassed the 100,000 mark.
Life is pretty much normal in the island nation, with New Zealanders heading in their thousands to a concert recently.
Crowds gathered in Waitangi for the biggest outdoor show since the pandemic began on 16 January. Although Brits will no doubt feel very envious looking at the photos, it does give us all a bit of hope about what we've got to look forward to in the future.
Speaking back in April, Ardern said: "Elimination means we may well reach zero but we may well then have small numbers of cases coming up again.
"That doesn't mean we have failed, it just means that we are in the position to have that zero tolerance approach to have a very aggressive management of those cases and keep those numbers low and fading out again."
Featured Image Credit: PA
Topics: World News
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