More from New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern who has just held her first post-cabinet press conference of 2021 and asked her people to remain “unified”.
“New Zealand will only truly feel like it returns to normal when there is a certain level of normality in the rest of the world too.”
“But given the risks in the world around us and the uncertainty of the global rollout of the vaccine, we can expect our borders to be impacted for much of this year.”
“For travel to restart, we need one of two things. We either need the confidence that being vaccinated means you don’t pass Covid-19 on to others – and we don’t know that yet – or we need enough of our population to be vaccinated and protected that people can safely re-enter New Zealand. Both possibilities will take some time.”
“In the meantime, we will continue to pursue travel bubbles with Australia and the Pacific, but the rest of the world simply poses too great a risk to our health and our economy to take the risk at this stage.”
“Our team of 5 million worked too hard last year for us to risk any of the gains we have made. Health gains that see us going about our daily lives pretty much as normal, and saw the economy bounce back strongly from the initial shock. We need to remain unified, we showed last year how good we are at that and that’s exactly what we intend and need to do for 2021.”
Ardern disappointed that Australia PM closed border with New Zealand following new case
Ardern’s comments about keeping borders closed do not apply to the travel bubble with Australia.
Ardern said on Tuesday she is “disappointed” that Australian Scott Morrison decided to close its border to New Zealand after a single case was identified in the community this week.
Ardern said her government was still working to have a travel bubble up and running with Australia in the first quarter of this year, but a country to country bubble was now looking unlikely, as each state in Australia had different Covid-19 restrictions.
The prime minister said she needs to have confidence the two-way bubble won’t be susceptible to “short-notice border closures” such as happened on Monday.
Although it was Australia’s decision to close its border to New Zealand, Ardern offered assurance that the sole Northland community case was “well under control”.
New Zealand PM: borders to remain closed to foreign nationals until Kiwis 'vaccinated and protected'
Prime minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern has said her country’s borders will remain closed to foreign nationals until Kiwis are “vaccinated and protected” and this would be “some time away”.
“We have taken a conservative approach and I stand by that decision,” Ardern said.
Vaccination of the general New Zealand population is not slated to begin until at least the middle of 2021, while border workers and health workers will begin receiving vaccinations in the second quarter of this year.
Ardern said her government would prioritise travel bubbles with Australia and the Pacific but any opening up to the rest of the globe would need her country - and the rest of the world - to return to some state of normal.
California leaders have reached an agreement to extend the state’s eviction moratorium through the end of June in an effort to stave off an expected surge in housing displacement as Covid continues to spread.
The plan, agreed on by top legislative leaders and the governor, extends until 30 June a state law scheduled to expire next Monday that prevents landlords from evicting tenants who could not pay their rent between March and August because of the coronavirus pandemic and those who have been able to pay at least 25% of their rent:
Wuhan doctor: China authorities stopped me sounding alarm on Covid
A doctor from the Wuhan hospital hit hardest by the Covid-19 epidemic has said he and colleagues suspected the virus was highly transmissible in early January last year, weeks before Chinese authorities admitted it, but were prevented from warning anyone.
The doctor’s testimony – in a new BBC documentary on the 54 days between the first known case of coronavirus and the Wuhan lockdown – adds to mounting evidence of Beijing’s early attempts to cover up the virus outbreak, and intimidate healthworkers into staying quiet:
Minnesota lab confirms first US coronavirus case associated with Brazil variant
On Christmas morning, Siouxsie Wiles got a call from her father-in-law. He he had woken up feeling fluey after attending an event a few days before.
As he spoke, Wiles looked up his closest Covid-19 testing centre on her phone. “I recommend you give them a call,” she told him, “because you are not coming for Christmas dinner.”
Her parents-in-law had been down to bring the ham. Christmas was, if not exactly cancelled, deferred to the day after Boxing Day, when Wiles’ father-in-law’s test came back negative.
It will no doubt have struck some as an overreaction. Wiles and her family live in Auckland, where local transmission of coronavirus had not been recorded since November. Since then, life in New Zealand had seemed deceptively normal.
That is what concerns Wiles. Last January she was a microbiologist at the University of Auckland, specialising in the scientific possibilities of bioluminescence, as well as a widely awarded media commentator.
Twelve months later, Wiles is New Zealand’s most famous scientist (at least its most visible, thanks to her trademark pink hair) and a lynchpin of its pandemic success, having been tireless and ever-present in her efforts to explain how the virus spreads:
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