National Party leader Judith Collins has set targets of either 85-90 per cent vaccinations or December 1 for when the party believes Covid-19 restrictions should end, and the borders start to re-open.
Collins set out the targets this morning, ahead of launching National’s economic plan for the Covid-19 recovery at 10am.
“We would put an end to lockdowns, reopen our economy and reconnect to the world when we hit 85-90 per cent vaccination, along with district health board and age-based milestones, or on December 1, whichever comes earlier.
“The undeniable fact is that we cannot allow things to continue as they are. Our largest city has been in lockdown for almost 10 weeks and there’s still no end in sight.”
Setting a firm date at which the borders would re-open was one of Sir John Key’s ideas for the Covid-19 response, saying it was one way to encourage people to get vaccinated rather than wait.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has resisted the idea of a date but has promised to set a vaccinations percentage target for when a new “traffic lights” system would kick in instead of the current alert levels system.
She will set out that new system and the target on Friday, and has said it will include vaccination passes.
Collins has questioned the need for the delay before announcing it, saying setting targets would give people something to strive for: and hope that things would ease.
Collins said re-opening after the target would be bolstered by public health efforts.
“We would boost ICU capacity, put rapid antigen testing and saliva testing in place, and step up vaccination of people in vulnerable communities. We will purchase and rollout vaccine boosters, as well as secure effective therapeutic treatments.”
This morning on Newstalk ZB, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the case numbers today could be close to 100 after yesterday’s 91.
However, he said there were signs that the vaccination rates in Auckland were starting to make a difference.
Later today he is expected to set out the expected timeframe for schools to re-open in Auckland. He has signalled that senior students could return to school ahead of junior and primary students. He has also urged parents to get children aged 12 and over vaccinated before schools return.
Hipkins is also expected to unveil new proposals for MIQ this week – the Government has said it is considering shorter stays or home isolation for vaccinated travellers.
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