The time will soon come for New Zealand to pivot from an elimination strategy to one of vigorous suppression, National’s Covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“New Zealand is at a tipping point. Delta is in the country right now and may never leave. Even the Government admits it may not be possible to get cases back to zero and if we do Delta will be back again anyway.
“The Government is being intellectually dishonest in maintaining the fiction that borders can reopen while New Zealand simultaneously maintains an elimination strategy. In a world with Delta, that is impossible.
“National is the only major party being upfront with New Zealanders. The time will soon come when we need to pivot to vigorous suppression of Covid-19 in New Zealand.
“This is a strategy where New Zealand aims to keep the number of Covid-19 cases very low, but not necessarily at zero. There will likely be cases of infection under this strategy, but the aim is to rapidly respond when they occur and minimise the number of people infected.
“Once we reach a milestone of 85 per cent of the country vaccinated, vigorous suppression becomes possible when supplemented with National’s ten steps to tackle Covid-19.
“National has outlined ten steps we urgently need to take to respond to Covid-19 and set ourselves up to begin to reconnect with the world. They are:
- Supercharge the vaccine rollout
- Order vaccine boosters
- Upgrade our contact tracing capability
- Roll out saliva testing at the border and in the community
- Roll out rapid tests for essential workers and in the community
- Create a dedicated agency, Te Korowai Kōkiri, to manage our Covid-19 response based in Manukau not Wellington
- Build purpose-built quarantine facilities
- Launch a digital app for vaccination authentication
- Invest in next-generation Covid treatments
- Prepare our hospitals and expand ICU capacity
“These 10 steps are important measures New Zealand needs to take to evolve our response away from lockdowns and help us open up to the world.
“If we implement these steps, we have options for our future. Kiwis can then look to reunite with family, travel overseas for business and pleasure and we can welcome tourists and students for international education.
“Once we reopen to the world, the future is in the hands of New Zealanders.”
National’s ‘Opening Up’ plan can be found here.
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