Finance

Auckland is on the verge of overthrowing the government as it enters its fifth week of lockdown.

The government maintains that the eradication strategy is the best plan for New Zealand, but will not say how long it intends to use the lockdown to prevent a future epidemic.

A deserted Central Auckland between August 2021 lockdown.

A deserted Central Auckland between August 2021 lockdown.
Image: RNZ / Robert Smith

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says vaccination rates will be important for any future response, with the sole goal of maximizing their reach.

Tamaki Makurao is facing another week at Alert Level 4 as authorities are still working to completely stop the epidemic while the rest of the country is on Alert Level 2.

ACT Party leader David Seymour is now demanding that the strategy to end Auckland’s lockdown be abandoned if it does not work within a week.

“There may not be easy answers, but clearly we have a strategy that has worked to some extent, and is off the runway. Now we need to consider a new strategy,” he said. How will it be? “

Seymour has proposed a suppression strategy in Auckland to prevent the virus from spreading to other areas along the tight border.

“It could be able to save the rest of the country by keeping Auckland under sanctions, allowing businesses to do business in Auckland while we wait for vaccination rates to be much higher.”

However, Covid 19 modeler Professor Sean Handy says abandoning the elimination strategy would be disastrous for both business and the healthcare system.

He said abandoning the sealing of the virus would now result in a large number of deaths and long-term restrictions, as seen in New South Wales.

“Really, we’re looking at a few more weeks. At most I think of alert level 4 and then relaxation to alert from 3 to 2 and then back to 1 so that we’re relatively here in New Zealand. Be able to have a normal summer, “he said.

“The alternative is to really stay on alert level 3, which is still very difficult for business, for a very long time, until next year, what will be the health emergency.”

“So from an economic point of view, I think the right strategy is to extend the lockdown and then get back to normal as soon as possible.”

Professor Handy says he believes the latest Delta epidemic can be eradicated if a team of five million sticks to the course.

“We weren’t sure how well Alert Level 4 would work against Delta, but in fact we’ve seen it work very effectively.

“So we think that, if we are willing to continue this course, we can add a little extra fish that will really pay the price and we will be able to eradicate this epidemic.”

Chris Bishop, spokesman for the National Party’s Cove 19 Response, believes that if testing, tracing and vaccination are all done properly and hospitals are prepared to handle it, the end is still possible.

“Once we give up, we can never go back. So this is a big step. New Zealand has achieved something that no other country has achieved.

“Before this recent epidemic, we got rid of Covid 19 from our community … We have the tools and capabilities and technologies to do the work for us.”

Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says the current lockdown in Auckland is working and the public needs to stay that way.

Looking to the future, he says other countries with higher vaccination rates still have to use restrictions on the spot.

“[Other countries] They still have to use restrictions to protect their population and healthcare systems, no matter how good their healthcare systems are.

“So there’s a lot of water flowing under the bridge and our focus right now is on vaccinating at the highest possible rate.”

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