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What is the Covid-19 Exit Strategy of 'Zero Covid' countries such as Australia and New Zealand?

Pakenhamtrain

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New Zealand have now announced there "living with Covid" plan that will kick in once 90% in all health regions are vaccinated.

They will remain much much more cautious than others, including in "green" areas and will have a comprehensive vaccine passport that is only marginally less restrictive than Latvia / Lithuania. The VP won't be a legal requirement but businesses that don't use it face capacity limits and increased distancing.

That is even if they get 90% - Very few places around the world have reached those levels.

For once I prefer our current approach
In Victoria we are planning for the rules to go out the window with all but masks in a few areas at 90 percent 12+. The catch if you're un vaccinated none of it applies to you. If you're un vaccinated you won't be able to do much.
 
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Yew

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New Zealand have now announced there "living with Covid" plan that will kick in once 90% in all health regions are vaccinated.

They will remain much much more cautious than others, including in "green" areas and will have a comprehensive vaccine passport that is only marginally less restrictive than Latvia / Lithuania. The VP won't be a legal requirement but businesses that don't use it face capacity limits and increased distancing.

That is even if they get 90% - Very few places around the world have reached those levels.

For once I prefer our current approach
That doesn’t sound like “living with” COVID; that sounds like “having a shadow of our former existence with” COVID
 

Bantamzen

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That doesn’t sound like “living with” COVID; that sounds like “having a shadow of our former existence with” COVID
Indeed, it sounds like a response from a petulant leader who has had to come to terms with the fact she cannot cannot nature but still wants to be relevant.
 

DustyBin

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In Victoria we are planning for the rules to go out the window with all but masks in a few areas at 90 percent 12+. The catch if you're un vaccinated none of it applies to you. If you're un vaccinated you won't be able to do much.

What an appalling state of affairs. Mind you looking at what’s happening in Europe, you guys don’t have the monopoly on this sort of thing…
 

brad465

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In the same neck of the woods as Australia and New Zealand, the Pacific island of Tonga (pop. ~100,000) has recorded its first ever covid case, and now the island is rushing to get vaccinated, with warnings of lockdown on the way too:


Tongans have been rushing to vaccinate themselves against coronavirus after the Pacific island nation confirmed its first case on Friday.
The infection was detected in a fully vaccinated person who had arrived on a repatriation flight from New Zealand.
Tonga's Prime Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa warned that residents on the main island of Tongatapu face a possible lockdown next week.
Tonga was one of the last countries not to have reported Covid infections.
Over 100,000 people live on the island nation, located north-west of New Zealand.
Only a third of Tonga's population have been fully vaccinated. But national immunisation co-ordinator Afu Tei told AFP news agency that thousands had been turning up at vaccination centres to receive their jabs.
The infected individual was among 215 people on a repatriation flight from Christchurch, New Zealand. Others onboard included members of Tonga's Olympic team who had been stranded in the city since the Tokyo Olympics.
New Zealand's health ministry said that the individual had tested negative before leaving the country.
But authorities in Tonga said a positive reading was recorded after a routine test on Thursday, done while in compulsory managed isolation.
Siale Akau'ola, chief executive of Tonga's health ministry, told reporters that the infected Tongan had received a second dose of the vaccine in mid-October, and that authorities were satisfied the person would not become seriously ill.
Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa said he had been advised against enforcing an immediate lockdown "because the virus will take more than three days to develop in someone who catches it before they become contagious".
"We should use this time to get ready in case more people are confirmed they have the virus," he added.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 246 million coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide, and nearly 5 million Covid-related deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
The virus has yet to spread to many island nations in the Pacific like Tuvalu.
Other countries like North Korea and Turkmenistan have yet to report any cases, but experts agree that the virus may be present, even if it is not officially confirmed.

Also worth pointing out that a fully vaccinated traveller from New Zealand was the detected source, showing how isolation until fully vaccinated doesn't achieve zero covid or anything else unrealistic towards trying to contain covid.
 

Paul Kelly

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Is it true that it's only Australian citizens, residents and their families who are allowed to enter Australia from tomorrow (as mentioned earlier in the thread)? I found the following web page quite confusing (quote below): https://www.health.gov.au/news/heal...estrictions/international-travel-and-covid-19

International travel and COVID-19​

Fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents can travel overseas without an exemption. There will also be reduced quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers when they return to or enter Australia. Learn more about vaccinations, pre-flight testing and travel requirements.

Travelling into and out of Australia​

You must show evidence that you have been vaccinated, at least 7 days prior to international travel into or out of Australia, with a vaccine approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

See more about providing proof of vaccination in Australia or providing proof of overseas vaccination.

You must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 3 days of your flight’s scheduled departure to your airline when you check-in for a flight to travel into Australia.

See more about pre-flight testing for travel into Australia.

Temporary visa holders​

These rules also apply to people who hold a temporary visa and were vaccinated overseas including:

  • international students
  • Australian residents
  • tourists.
In particular, the bits I've highlighted seem to suggest that normal touristic travel is allowed?
 

zero

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Is it true that it's only Australian citizens, residents and their families who are allowed to enter Australia from tomorrow (as mentioned earlier in the thread)? I found the following web page quite confusing (quote below): https://www.health.gov.au/news/heal...estrictions/international-travel-and-covid-19


In particular, the bits I've highlighted seem to suggest that normal touristic travel is allowed?
No, it says that the vaccination rules will apply to tourists, but it doesn't say that tourists can travel yet.
 

Paul Kelly

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Ah yes I think I see what you mean - you can enter and don't have to quarantine if you have a visa, but they're not issuing standard tourist visas again yet, so you need to match one of the exemptions (of which there seem to be quite a lot, e.g. being a parent of an Australian citizen or permanent resident is a new one - so still possible for quite a few people).
 

Pakenhamtrain

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Ah yes I think I see what you mean - you can enter and don't have to quarantine if you have a visa, but they're not issuing standard tourist visas again yet, so you need to match one of the exemptions (of which there seem to be quite a lot, e.g. being a parent of an Australian citizen or permanent resident is a new one - so still possible for quite a few people).
As of today we are allowed people from NZ and Singapore in.

And lets be honest you'll only be seeing New South Wales and Victoria at the moment.
 

zero

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As of today we are allowed people from NZ and Singapore in.

And lets be honest you'll only be seeing New South Wales and Victoria at the moment.


Are you sure? I believe that it's still only Australian citizens, residents and their close family who are allowed to travel to Australia.

But from today (1 Nov) anyone vaccinated who has been in NZ for the past 14 days is now allowed to fly to Australia. NSW and VIC have no more hotel quarantine and no more arrival caps for vaccinated.

From 8 Nov anyone vaccinated who has only been in any of Singapore's VTL list countries for the past 14 days can fly from Australia and enter Singapore without quarantine.

From 21 Nov anyone vaccinated can fly from Singapore to NSW/VIC regardless of where they have been recently, but they need to start their journey in Singapore (which means being eligible to enter Singapore +/- quarantine if required) or be eligible to transit Singapore (a very complex set of rules)
 

Pakenhamtrain

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Are you sure? I believe that it's still only Australian citizens, residents and their close family who are allowed to travel to Australia.

But from today (1 Nov) anyone vaccinated who has been in NZ for the past 14 days is now allowed to fly to Australia. NSW and VIC have no more hotel quarantine and no more arrival caps for vaccinated.

From 8 Nov anyone vaccinated who has only been in any of Singapore's VTL list countries for the past 14 days can fly from Australia and enter Singapore without quarantine.

From 21 Nov anyone vaccinated can fly from Singapore to NSW/VIC regardless of where they have been recently, but they need to start their journey in Singapore (which means being eligible to enter Singapore +/- quarantine if required) or be eligible to transit Singapore (a very complex set of rules)
It is.
The quarantine-free travel bubble from New Zealand to Australia has been given the green light to resume, and Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan says it won't be long before the country will be welcoming Singaporeans too.

Tehan said this was "wonderful news" for the 660,000 people employed in the Australia’s tourism industry.

"Our Kiwi friends can come into Victoria, NSW without quarantining and won't be long before we welcome Singaporeans as well," he told Channel Seven on Sunday. "This is us as a nation beginning to open up again."
The critical bit is Australians first then foreign workers and working holiday visas.
He said he first wants to see all returning Australians comfortably back home, but he's hopeful foreign workers and those on working holiday visas will be returning before Christmas.

“We might even see some international tourists coming, so exciting times. We've all got to do this safely, but we're on our way,” he said.

It is a very much one way travel bubble though.
 

initiation

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I'd be interested to see if they stick with the Singapore thing. Cases there have been 'high' recently (comparable to the UK on a per capita basis).


Although it is good that the borders are slowly re-opening I feel sorry for all those people who missed a last chance to see a dying loved one, or to see a newly born grandchild. Even within Europe it has been difficult - my boss' child did not meet his Spanish grandparents for 18 months. Travel restrictions are not just about holidays.
 

brad465

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The Financial Times are reporting that China's Zero covid policy is under strain:


China’s efforts to eliminate Covid-19 are coming under increasing pressure, with officials warning of a “grave challenge” in the months ahead and dozens of new cases reported over the weekend.

Many of the comments are anti-this strategy unsurprisingly, but there was this rather ridiculous comment: "In China the government is actually expected to govern for the benefit of the people, thus killing its citizens in the hundred thousands is unthinkable. In the UK, on the other hand, the government is expected to govern for the benefit of the wealthy and sacrificing people (usually just metaphorically) so that the few can get even more money is literally what they do all the time." It featured many well rated replies recalling oppression, the Great Leap Forward, and of course, the Uighur situation as proof of how false this comment is.
 

yorksrob

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Many of the comments are anti-this strategy unsurprisingly, but there was this rather ridiculous comment: "In China the government is actually expected to govern for the benefit of the people, thus killing its citizens in the hundred thousands is unthinkable. In the UK, on the other hand, the government is expected to govern for the benefit of the wealthy and sacrificing people (usually just metaphorically) so that the few can get even more money is literally what they do all the time." It featured many well rated replies recalling oppression, the Great Leap Forward, and of course, the Uighur situation as proof of how false this comment is.

Probably one of their so-called "diplomats" parading the party line.
 

DustyBin

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Probably one of their so-called "diplomats" parading the party line.

I’m not so sure, there are plenty of people in this country who think it’s the governments job to make every decision for them and “keep them safe”, presumably in order to facilitate their ongoing mindless existence….
 

island

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Auckland is slated to reopen non-essential retail, libraries, museums, and zoos tomorrow after just under three months of its two-week lockdown. Gyms, cinemas, and the like remain closed, and work from home remains required where possible.
 

brad465

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Auckland is slated to reopen non-essential retail, libraries, museums, and zoos tomorrow after just under three months of its two-week lockdown. Gyms, cinemas, and the like remain closed, and work from home remains required where possible.
Do we know what public attitude to the covid response is like in New Zealand now? The way things are looking it just appears they at best delayed things, and the normality they achieved during the initial elimination success won't ever return unless they accept certain inevitabilities.
 

zero

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Do we know what public attitude to the covid response is like in New Zealand now? The way things are looking it just appears they at best delayed things, and the normality they achieved during the initial elimination success won't ever return unless they accept certain inevitabilities.

From my relatives in NZ, they are happy that they "delayed things" if it meant the deaths of elderly people were also delayed. But they are frustrated that the time wasn't used to get people vaccinated more quickly even if there was not such a sense of urgency when the vaccines first came out.

They are mostly accepting of the lockdowns in order to catch up with vaccinations, but not so happy with their hotel quarantine system for foreign travel, because with the benefit of hindsight and knowing that delta is a lot more infectious, it was always going to breach the quarantine without a proper "bubble" system like is going to happen for the winter olympics in China (but on the other hand that is too authoritarian). They now want a clear path forward to get rid of this hotel quarantine especially with the 90% vaccination target.

As I've been keeping them apprised of the situation in the UK, despite the UK's case numbers seeming scarily high to them, they would not feel scared of coming to the UK as soon as it becomes possible to easily get back to NZ, though some of their acquaintances have the impression that the virus is ravishing all of Europe.
 

Jim the Jim

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That is even if they get 90% - Very few places around the world have reached those levels.
It seems almost fantastical - many European countries, where people are much more likely to have seen the effects of covid first-hand, are basically stuck on vaccination rates in the 60-70% range, with only marginal increases over the last two or three months. This includes places with quite extensive covid pass requirements. What exactly are NZ planning to do differently?
 

Watershed

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It seems almost fantastical - many European countries, where people are much more likely to have seen the effects of covid first-hand, are basically stuck on vaccination rates in the 60-70% range, with only marginal increases over the last two or three months. This includes places with quite extensive covid pass requirements. What exactly are NZ planning to do differently?
To be fair, their restrictions are far more onerous than those faced by unvaccinated people in most of Europe. So the "stick" is much larger.

The best part of a year on from when this thread was started, I think the answer to the titular question is quite clear - these countries' "exit strategy" was to separate themselves from the rest of the world, impose repeated "snap" lockdowns and gamble that effective vaccines would become available.

This course of action has sadly had deleterious implications for families etc. kept apart, not to mention the economic consequences (not only now but also in the long term - who'd risk investing into NZ?).
 

DustyBin

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It seems almost fantastical - many European countries, where people are much more likely to have seen the effects of covid first-hand, are basically stuck on vaccination rates in the 60-70% range, with only marginal increases over the last two or three months. This includes places with quite extensive covid pass requirements. What exactly are NZ planning to do differently?

If anybody is going to try mandatory vaccinations it will be Ardern! (Only half serious but nothing would surprise me at this point).
 

brad465

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Does anyone know what the situation is like in Australia on the ground now? I notice that cases are rocketing to record highs here (like with many countries), with a 135% increase over the last 7 days:



1640623732120.png
 

TravelDream

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They have Omicron and it is the dominant strain is most states. The issue with the variant is that it is so infectious that some experts thing every quite strict lockdowns would be unable to completely stem the flow of infections.

It seems almost fantastical - many European countries, where people are much more likely to have seen the effects of covid first-hand, are basically stuck on vaccination rates in the 60-70% range, with only marginal increases over the last two or three months. This includes places with quite extensive covid pass requirements. What exactly are NZ planning to do differently?

I think this sounds very much like one of the myths that came out of one of the less sane Brexiteer MP's mouths.

For one, Britain has one of Europe's highest excess death rates during the pandemic. Surely we have seen it more first-hand than many other countries?
The EU countries hit hardest like Italy and Spain both have notably higher vaccination rates than the UK.

On vaccinations, European vaccination rates vary dramatically. You can't compare Portugal, Spain or Malta which have vaccination rates far higher than ours to countries like France or Germany which have comparable rates to us and to countries like Bulgaria or Romania whose rates are far lower than ours.

I think evidence from places like France and Latvia shows that vaccine passports do increase vaccination rates quite dramatically. Both countries had very sluggish programmes due to low take-up which then surged when restrictions came in. Though I don't disagree that there are many arguments against such things too.

Booster take-up across the EU is still a bit unclear and it will take time for that data to feed through. The EU's programme was much slower to take-off than ours so many people had vaccinations more recently than people of comparable demographics in the UK. Many EU countries are also sticking quite rigidly to a minimum of 6 months between the second dose and the booster which the UK isn't.
 

NorthKent1989

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I think evidence from places like France and Latvia shows that vaccine passports do increase vaccination rates quite dramatically. Both countries had very sluggish programmes due to low take-up which then surged when restrictions came in. Though I don't disagree that there are many arguments against such things too.

That's just about all a passport would do because there's no health benefits or science behind them, we saw in Scotland and Wales how high cases went up even with the passports and England at that time had the lowest cases but had no passports
 

Jonny

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If anybody is going to try mandatory vaccinations it will be Ardern! (Only half serious but nothing would surprise me at this point).
I would have to agree; she might as well be a dictator. Her fake compassion makes me vomit.

Does anyone know what the situation is like in Australia on the ground now? I notice that cases are rocketing to record highs here (like with many countries), with a 135% increase over the last 7 days:



View attachment 107751
I think we can call it an epic fail for their strategy. It might as well be the common cold.
 

yorkie

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Does anyone know what the situation is like in Australia on the ground now?
They went back to normal and their plan is to continue with a light touch approach and not lock down again unless healthcare is in danger of being overwhelmed. As they have Omicron and it is Summer, and they have made good progress with vaccinations, I am very hopeful they will be okay and could be good model for other countries to follow.

Lockdown enthusiasts are furious at the change of approach and are calling for lockdowns to be reintroduced. Oh how the tables have turned! :lol:
 

Yew

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They have Omicron and it is the dominant strain is most states. The issue with the variant is that it is so infectious that some experts thing every quite strict lockdowns would be unable to completely stem the flow of infections.



I think this sounds very much like one of the myths that came out of one of the less sane Brexiteer MP's mouths.

For one, Britain has one of Europe's highest excess death rates during the pandemic. Surely we have seen it more first-hand than many other countries?
The EU countries hit hardest like Italy and Spain both have notably higher vaccination rates than the UK.
I think the OP was referring to New Zealand as the comparison point in their post.
 

Pakenhamtrain

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Does anyone know what the situation is like in Australia on the ground now? I notice that cases are rocketing to record highs here (like with many countries), with a 135% increase over the last 7 days:



View attachment 107751
We have Dumb Dumb Dom in NSW deciding to let it rip.

Victoria is taking. More considered approach. Queensland have opened up.

WA are still trying to pretend they're not part of the rest of us.
 

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