How New Zealand’s out-of-control Delta outbreak and harsh lockdowns could bring down Jacinda Ardern – just a year after her popularity hit record highs
- Lockdowns and slow vaccination uptake put Jacinda Ardern’s popularity at risk
- New Zealand Prime Minister’s popularity was at a record high in May last year
- Ardern recently axed nation’s elimination strategy in favour of 3 stage road map
- The new strategy now relies on vaccination rates to end ongoing lockdowns
New Zealand’s strict lockdowns and slow vaccination uptake during the Delta outbreak could see popularity for nation’s most loved Prime Minister falter.
Jacinda Ardern’s popularity was at a record high in May last year, she was praised for her prompt response to Covid that saw the country’s death toll limited to 26.
However, the Labour Party leader’s strategy of shutting her country’s borders and the nation’s glacial vaccine rollout, has put a strain on her once soaring popularity.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s (pictured) popularity is at risk after ongoing lockdowns and border closures failed to contain the nation’s Delta outbreak
Since New Zealand’s Delta variant outbreak reached Auckland contact tracers have scrambled to track cases, despite a string of lockdowns to contain the virus.
The nation recorded 29 new community Covid-19 cases on Thursday bringing the total number of active infections to 1,448.
After a series of lockdowns Ms Ardern has decided to scrap the country’s elimination strategy in favour of a three-stage road map that takes into account vaccination rates.
The nation recorded 29 new community Covid-19 cases on Thursday bringing the total number of active infections to 1,448
But health experts now fear New Zealand’s over reliance on isolation and slow vaccine uptake will result in a death toll reaching the thousands.
‘All power to New Zealand for keeping deaths so low,’ Professor of health protection at the University of East Anglia, Paul Hunter, told the Australian Financial Review.
‘But the issue is that if your policy fails and you haven’t got anything else in place, it will be as bad as if you had let it rip right from the start.’
‘New Zealand could find all the sacrifices of the past year wasted if they do not get their population immunised quickly enough.’
Ms Ardern’s decision to combat outbreaks with lockdown and isolation has even been labelled ‘absurd’ by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who added that no country could ‘stay in the cave’ forever.
The nation’s economy also continues to suffer as the government struggles to come up with a plan to get out of lockdown.
Industries such as hospitality and the tech sector were reportedly the hardest hit with increased labour shortages due to border closures.
Jacinda Ardern ‘s popularity was at a record high in May last year, she was praised for her prompt response to Covid that saw the country’s death toll limited to 26
Ms Ardern (pictured) recently abandoned the nation’s covid elimination strategy in favour of a three stage rollout that relies on vaccination uptake
An expert on emerging viruses at the University of Nottingham, Jonathan Ball, told the news outlet New Zealand’s only option left for reopening is vaccination.
‘Early on in the outbreak, New Zealand was a great example of how you could deal with the virus through lockdowns and social distancing,’ he said.
‘We have to accept that now we’ve moved on from that. It’s incredibly difficult to secure your borders forever, and the only thing New Zealand is left with is vaccination, otherwise they are pretty much fighting a losing battle because you are always going to have the virus knocking on your door.’
On Thursday, Ms Ardern began her tour around the country in a bid to boost vaccination uptake.
When she stopped by a vaccination centre in Murupara, she was met by frustrated residents holding placards proclaiming ‘freedom of choice’ and ‘informed decision’.
The small group, spotted with children in tow, were heard chanting, ‘what do we want, freedom, when do we want it, now’, reported Stuff.
They appeared at the drive-by vaccination site after the Prime Minister had spoken with healthcare staff and members of the public.
‘Go home and take the jab with you,’ one shouted.
‘We don’t need your demon vaccine’ said another.
Despite the noisy interruption Ms Ardern continued her next visit to the Rotorua Central Mall site where staff would be administering over 800 vaccines to locals in the region.
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