Wellington, New Zealand, Sep 27 (BNA): The New Zealand Prime Minister said the government will start a pilot program of home isolation for foreign travelers, before what she expects to increase vaccination levels.
The Associated Press (AP) reports that New Zealanders are currently being forced to quarantine in hotels for two weeks upon returning home from abroad.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday that the pilot program that will allow New Zealanders to self-quarantine at home will include 150 business travelers arriving between October 30 and December 8, and the program will include monitoring and testing.
“The only reason we’re running this pilot self-isolation program now is to prepare to vaccinate a large population,” Ardern said.
“The goal is that in the first quarter of 2022 when more New Zealanders are vaccinated, it will be safer to self-isolate at home,” she added.
Of the eligible New Zealand population aged 12 or older, Ardern said, 43% have been fully vaccinated.
In Auckland, the nation’s most populous city that has been on lockdown since August 17 after a highly contagious delta variant leaked from hotel quarantines, 82% of eligible residents have had at least one dose of Pfizer’s dual-vaccine vaccine, she said. .
New Zealand has taken an unusual zero-tolerance approach to the coronavirus and is trying to completely eliminate the delta variant.