8:10am – Little said he is expecting to recieve a strategy soon outlining what New Zealand’s COVID-19 response will look like when the country no longer uses the elimination strategy.

“I’m expecting a specific strategy in the next three or four weeks on what it looks like when we don’t resort to lockdowns… 

“We’re looking around the world to see what other countries are doing. On the weekend I was talking to my Australian counterpart, the Minister of Health there Greg Hunt and what they are doing. Their strategy is very much about maximising anybody who is infected with COVID to be cared for in the community, be cared for in the home, with health services being able to ring in, check in on a daily basis, provide help. And if there’s an indication someone needs to be hospitalised, that can happen. 

“Getting the hospitals geared up with the right facilities in the right places to be able to accommodate people not just in ICU but on wards as well – specific dedicated COVID wards. I’ve asked the Ministry of Health to look at all of that, do some modelling about what numbers we might expect. In the end, the way we avoid putting undue pressure on the health system is maximising the number of people who are vaccinated. We’ve really got to get those numbers up.”

Little said he understands New Zealand will need to reopen to borders at some point, start to allow gatherings and other events.

“But we can only do that when vaccination rates are high; we are starting on that…

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