New Zealand is going to phase out its controversial policy of trying to eliminate the virus, prime minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
The country has become the poster child for successful suppression of Covid-19 but even it has struggled to contain the Delta variant. Despite low numbers of cases by most international standards – the outbreak totals 1,314 – its largest city Auckland has been in lockdown for seven weeks.
Ardern said the arrival of vaccines meant it could transition towards a new policy in three stages.
“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,” Ardern said.
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England drops traffic light system for travel
A major change in the rules for international travel in and out of England came into force at 4am BST on Monday morning when the traffic-light system was replaced with a single red list of countries subject to the toughest restrictions.
The previous green and amber countries have become the “rest of the world” or “non-red list”. There are also changes to the testing requirements when returning from a non-red-list country, if fully vaccinated.
From 4am, there was no longer a requirement for fully vaccinated travellers to take a test in the three days before their return from a non-red-list country.
The new rules announced apply to England. The devolved administrations of Scotalnd, Wales and Northern Ireland are in charge of their own travel rules, but they have typically been mirroring Westminster’s approach.
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Morning/afternoon/good evening wherever you are. Thanks for joining me for live updates on the coronavirus pandelic.
The main developments in the past few hours are:
New rules for international travel in and out of England have come into force on Monday morning. The much-criticised traffic light system has been be replaced with a single red list of countries and tresting requirements for travel will be overhauled.
New Zealand’s strategy of aiming to eliminate Covid-19will be phased out. The policy has been controversial but prime minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that vaccines meant the country could transition away from it.
Australia’s Delta outbreak appears to have levelled off, with more than half the country in extended lockdowns and vaccination rates starting to approach national targets, ministers said on Monday.
India death toll from Covid edged closer to 500,000 after another 180 deaths were recorded on Monday. The toll is now 448,997, with more than 33 million cases.
Scientists in the UK have warned that the country may still have worse to come during the pandemic, as winter approaches. They fear that more people will begin socialising inside as the weather gets colder, which increases the chance of transmitting the virus, as workers also return to offices.