Covid-19 NZ: Most of New Zealand to start at orange, Auckland and lower-vaccinated areas to start at red – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: November 28, 2021 at 10:15 pm

Most of the country will start in the orange traffic light setting when the new Covid-19 protection framework kicks in this Friday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed the initial settings for the new system on Monday at her post-Cabinet press conference.

No area will start in Green, as the Government have said the risk of the outbreak escaping Auckland is too high for that.

Auckland and a clutch of other regions in the North Island with lower vaccination rates will start at red. Those are: Northland, Taup, Rotorua lakes districts, Kawerau, ptiki, Gisborne, Wairoa, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts.

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Northland and the Bay of Plenty have also seen outbreaks as well lower numbers of Covid-19 cases.

The rest of the country including the entire South Island, Wellington, and Waikato will all start at orange.

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Which areas are starting where.

Waikato has an ongoing community cluster but also has fairly high vaccination rates, with 91 per cent of its estimated 12+ population first dosed.

Other than Auckland, the regions starting at red all had second dose rates for their 12+ population below 79 per cent as of last Tuesday, with Kawerau as low as 64 per cent.

The Government has not provided a vaccination milestone that would see a district switch from red into orange, however.

Ardern said these settings would be reviewed by Cabinet on December 13 but then stay in place for much of the summer period.

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said much of the country would start in orange.

On January 17 the settings would be reviewed again, then again every fortnight from there.

The certainty and stability of the traffic lights replaces the sudden lockdowns and restrictions of Alert Levels. Our schools will stay open at every colour and businesses will have protection through My Vaccine Passes to keep operating, Ardern said.

Vaccinated New Zealanders using vaccine passes will be able to do many of the things that were previously treated as high risk like safely going to bars and restaurants, getting a haircut, and going to a concert or the gym. In Auckland, it means seeing friends and family indoors again.

The Government also announced a transition payment of up to $24,000 for businesses to move into the system.

Ardern emphasised that travel was allowed between regions at whatever colour other than the restrictions around Auckland travel. People can only leave Auckland after December 15, but only with either a vaccine pass or negative Covid test. The border will fully open from Auckland on January 17.

In general the system will see an end to lockdowns, although the Government has retained the ability to put small areas with low vaccination rates into localised lockdowns if an outbreak occurs.

At all levels people can visit friends and family and move between regions, even between red and orange areas although there are some extra controls for Auckland.

At orange venues and businesses that require vaccine passes can generally operate normally, with no capacity limits or seating requirements. Venues that choose to not require vaccine passes will face more severe restrictions, with cafes and restaurants only able to allow for pickup and delivery.

At red venues can still open if they require vaccine passes, but will need to have capacity limits and seating requirements.

The new system will mean far more restrictions for businesses outside of Auckland that refuse to use vaccine passes, but far more freedoms for businesses in the city that do choose to use them.

Red is the highest level in the new system, which is why Auckland has moved in at red as the epicentre of the current outbreak, and weve taken strong account of vaccination rates and vulnerable populations in the other regions at red, Ardern said.

There are 160,889 Kiwis due for a second dose if everyone got it this week we would be at 89.3 per cent fully vaccinated. I encourage those people to get their second dose today to benefit from the full protection of the vaccine, and to be able to get their Vaccine Pass.

Weve come through the past two years of Covid in better shape than nearly anywhere in the world, with the lowest case and death rates in the OECD, a growing economy, and among the highest rates of vaccination in the world.Were now in the strongest position to move forward into the next phase.

The Government has issued 2.4m vaccine passes.

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Covid-19 NZ: Most of New Zealand to start at orange, Auckland and lower-vaccinated areas to start at red - Stuff.co.nz

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