“How much better New Zealand could be doing in its response to COVID-19 is being laid bare by the numbers,” says ACT Leader David Seymour....

“How much better New Zealand could be doing in its response to COVID-19 is being laid bare by the numbers,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Long gone is the mantra of going ‘hard and early.’

“When it comes to quarantine free trans-Tasman travel and our vaccination programme we’re being exposed as disorganised and late.

“Not much of a slogan, but if the Government was honest they’d be admitting it.

“It’s worth bearing in mind that on April 6, when Jacinda Ardern announces the date of quarantine free travel with Australia, around 650 million people across the globe will have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

“That means in 11 days’ time close to 10 per cent of the World’s population will have been at least partially vaccinated.

“Already, almost three times the population of New Zealand is being inoculated against the virus every single day.

“At our current rate of 500 people fully vaccinated and 41,500 having received one jab, by April 6 we are unlikely to have partially vaccinated the equivalent of the population of Napier.

“COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says the programme will ramp up, and he’s right, but how will we compare with other countries in six months?

“Numerous projections say by September the populations of the United States, much of Europe, the UAE and Israel will all be fully vaccinated.

“If today’s daily global rate of vaccination stayed steady at around 12.2 million doses then 2.85 billion people will be inoculated against the virus in six months – 183 days from now.

“But it won’t stay steady – the daily rate is growing by about 1 million every week. By September we could be talking close to 3 billion people covered, around 40 per cent of the World’s population.

“Here in New Zealand we know there won’t be any jabbing in serious numbers before ‘sometime’ in May.

“Front-line border and healthcare workers and their immediate families will have been vaccinated, but priority populations like older people or those with medical conditions won’t start till sometime in May and the 2 million people in the ‘general’ population won’t begin vaccinations before July.

“For comparison, Australia, the country we were apparently in ‘lock step’ with, will have given everyone who wants the vaccine at least one jab by October and the vast majority will be fully covered.

“It will be well into 2022 before we can say the same thing about New Zealanders.

“Meanwhile, underlining our disorganisation is how little we know about how we’re going to respond to a world in six months’ time where almost half the planet is fully inoculated.

“Will we accept vaccinated tourists from Europe, the US and other countries? Or would vaccination not be enough – would they need to show proof the vaccine had been effective through an antibody serology test?

“This is the sort of detail the business community has been crying out for and the Prime Minister has promised, but it’s still nowhere to be seen.

“That means no one can plan, no one can invest in or ramp up their businesses in anticipation because we don’t know what the rules are going to be.

“We don’t even have a guide. The Government never talks about this big, hard stuff that has the potential to positively or negatively impact all of us.”


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