Sunday, 20 Jun 2021

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern clarifies Ashley Bloomfield’s comments on returning to alert level 2.5

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shut down the idea that New Zealand will return to life under Covid-19 alert level 2.5 when the borders open.

It comes after director general of health Ashley Bloomfield yesterday floated the idea that opening up the border to vaccinated tourists could require Kiwis to return to alert level 2.5.

Speaking on Newstalk ZB show Mornings with Kerre McIvor, Ardern said it would more likely be a “1.5 environment”.

“I spoke to [Bloomfield] and he said he was referencing more a 1.5 environment, with things like QR code scanning, those kind of things we need to be aware of on a day to day in that transition period,” Ardern said.

The Prime Minister’s comments came in response to a caller who was worried the country was now being restricted to gatherings of 10.

Ardern was quick to say that was not the case, saying it was a discussion about creating extra “buffers” when we do open the borders which could be at the end of this year.

She said there was no suggestion that for three to five years New Zealand will be in a constant level of a 2.5 environment.

“A lot of it is going to come down to how many people we have vaccinated, the more people we have vaccinated the more freedom we can have.

She said in the same way we have immunisations for measles, we do still have outbreaks from time to time and we have to make sure we contain those.

Ardern dedicated an hour to answering questions from Newstalk ZB callers.

It is the first time this year the Prime Minister has been in studio with McIvor.

She will also be answering questions from McIvor about child poverty, homelessness, the public sector pay freeze and District Health Boards.

Ardern speaks ahead of Budget 2021, which will be announced next Thursday, May 20.

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