New Zealand will move into the covid-19 traffic light system at 11.59pm, Thursday, December 2, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.
That is in 11 days from today, November 22 — and Ardern said it was important that people prepare.
At a post-cabinet briefing this afternoon, Ardern said: “The hard truth is that delta is here and it is not going away”.
“And while no country to date has been able to eliminate delta completely once it’s arrived, New Zealand is better positioned than most to tackle it because of our high vaccination rates and the inbuilt safety measures in the traffic light system like vaccine passes.”
Ardern said the most important thing to communicate about the traffic light system was “for the most part, if you’re vaccinated, you can go about doing all the kinds of things you’d usually expect … what varies is just how large those gatherings are at different levels”.
Vaccine levels would play a key determining factor for which regions go into red and which go into orange, Ardern said.
“We will look at … vaccine rates, we will look at case rates, and that will be the major determining factor but we’ll also be pragmatic. So you know, a good indication is if you’ve hit 90 percent first dose is a good indication of where you’re heading.”
Cabinet decided on the December 3 date (the first full day of the traffic light system) today, which allowed for the legal requirements in getting the system set up, Ardern said.
Legislation would be introduced and passed this week to enable that, Ardern said.
Watch the media briefing