ew Zealand has said it is “unwilling to accept” the UK’s policy of “living with Covid”, calling the level of likely death after the restrictions drop as “unacceptable”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK needs to “learn to live with” the virus, with Covid cases rising to 50,000 a day within two weeks.
He added: “We have to come to terms, unfortunately, with more deaths from Covid.”
However, when asked if this was a policy the New Zealand government could adopt, the country’s Covid response minister was quick to dismiss the suggestion.
Chris Hipkins, speaking at a press conference alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, said: “This is not something that we have been prepared to accept in New Zealand.
“One of the things the UK government has been very clear on is [is] that there will be a spike in cases, potentially thousands of cases per day. There will be more people who die.
“We’re likely to see more gradual changes than dramatic changes where we wake up one morning and say, ‘We’re just going back to how things were before Covid-19. “”
Ardern added: “Different countries are making different choices.
“The priority for me is how to continue to preserve what New Zealand has managed to win and to give itself options, because this virus is not done with the world yet.”
Chief Health Officer Ashley Bloomfield said New Zealand would “be watching closely” and may even put the UK on a no-fly list if the number of cases exploded.
“If they get an increase in the number of cases, we will closely monitor what this means for the risk of people traveling from the UK and that will inform our decisions here,” he said.
“We’re actually looking at the risk status of all countries every week, so clearly if there’s an increase in the number of cases, that’s one of the things we’ll be watching very closely.”