The Auckland border will be lifted on December 15 to allow for Christmas travel, by which time the entire country will have moved into the less restrictive “traffic light” system – whether or not the Government’s 90 per cent vaccination target is reached.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the planned opening of Auckland on Wednesday, ending weeks of speculation about how the Government would manage the busy Christmas period after it promised that months of lockdown restrictions would end for summer.
From December 15, fully vaccinated people will be able to travel across the Auckland border freely. People who are unvaccinated will only be able to leave Auckland if they receive a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to departure, but there will be no similar restriction on unvaccinated people entering Auckland. Police will conduct “random spot checks” to enforce this rule.
“This may be our toughest period to date … While I know there will be some who will think our moves [are] too fast, others too slow, I have no doubt that it is the best plan to keep us as safe and free as possible, to transition us safely to a new way of managing Covid,” Ardern said.
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The decision to move the entire country into the traffic light system “soon after” November 29 means the Government has effectively abandoned its target of reaching 90 per cent vaccination across each district health board before making the shift.
“It also offers greater incentives to be vaccinated and greater protections for both those who are and aren’t. That’s why it’s time to get ready to move,” Ardern said.
Ardern said Auckland would move into the “red” setting of the system, as would parts of the country with lower vaccination rates.
“This will add protections and hopefully also support an increase in vaccinations.”
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