December 5, 2021

More freedom for vaccinated Kiwis in Covid-19 traffic light framework

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Vaccinated Kiwis will regain everyday freedoms under the new Covid-19 Protection Framework that doesn’t rely on lockdowns as the main measure to stop the virus spreading.

“The simplified framework has three levels: green, orange and red. Vaccine certificates will provide greater freedoms at each level, and there will be extra public health precautions built in at higher levels to minimise the impact of Covid-19 and suppress the spread of the virus,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said while making the announcement this morning.

New covid-19 protection framework
New traffic lights system will end nationwide lockdowns

“If you are still unvaccinated, not only will you be more at risk of catching Covid-19, but many of the freedoms others enjoy will be out of reach”.

“Auckland will move into Red as soon as all three of the Auckland DHBs hit the 90 percent double vaccination target.

“For the rest of the country, once every DHB hits 90 percent double vaccinated we anticipate we will move collectively, together, to orange.“

Fully vaccinated percentage of Waikato DHB is only 62.1% (as on 18 Oct) and has a long way to go before moving to Orange.

Waikato DHB has gap of 28% before moving to Orange (Source: WDHB)

The new traffic light framework will allow businesses previously considered high-risk to fully open to vaccinated customers at green and orange and continue to operate with some restrictions at red.

Businesses that choose to open to the unvaccinated will face restrictions in order to suppress the virus amongst those most likely to have it.

The framework is more flexible than the current Alert Level system because country can move up levels when needed to control an outbreak.

The major difference is that “rather than use general nationwide lockdowns, if we have cases that start to climb and are in areas where we have lower vaccination rates for vulnerable communities, we can use more highly targeted and very localised lockdowns if we need to,” the Prime Minister added.

This is how this new system will work.

The Red setting will be used when the virus is spreading and action needs to be taken to protect vulnerable and prevent too much pressure on health system.

Public facilities will open with up to 100 people, based on 1m distancing, and Retail will open with capacity limits. Working from home will be encouraged; ECEs, schools, and kura will open with public health measures. Regional boundary restrictions will apply.

At Orange, it means there is increasing community transmission that is putting pressure on our health system.

Everything will remain open and all current gathering limits for events or hospitality can be lifted. Regional boundary restrictions will not apply.

Green is when there is some low level of Covid in the community, and transmission is limited.

At Green you are permitted to use public facilities, Retail, Workplaces, ECEs, schools, kura and tertiary providers. Regional boundary restrictions will not apply.