Good morning Dean;
Things are quite dynamic regarding COVID in New Zealand (NZ) at the moment. A few weeks back, one case of “Delta strain” was detected in Auckland, so immediately NZ went into Lockdown, Auckland Lockdown level 4 and the rest of NZ Level 3, with about two hours warning. This virus spread to others, and from this one case we have so far detected about 1,100 cases new cases! We seek to find the source of each case by genome testing and of major concern is when the source of any case cannot be found.
Since then, we are now required to wear masks and more emphasis is on people getting vaccinated, as well as testing. We are still about 35% fully vaccinated (two doses) with 65% with one dose as we are only using the Pfizer vaccine. NZ has adopted the “elimination” strategy, so we place strict controls on our borders to keep the COVID away. Most cases are detected at our borders as the Government is seeking to keep the community free of the virus. Those persons detected with the virus are placed in hotel accommodation premises. Which we refer to “Isolation facilities” for 14 days and have meals supplied. Currently out of a population of over 5 million, we have 4,162 cases with 3,885 recovered and only 27 deaths.
When an outbreak occurs NZ has relied on Lockdowns:
Level zero: Complete freedom, restrictions will probably be mask wearing and QR scanning compulsory.
Level 1: Borders are principally closed to tourists, allowing only essential workers and some stranded New Zealanders to return.
Level 2: Same as Level 1, but social distancing of 1 or 2 meters, mask wearing when outside the home. QR scanning is compulsory for all businesses. No large gatherings like concerts etc.
Level 3: Same as Level 2 with restrictions on outside movement. Only for exercise in your local neighborhood. No indoor dining, takeaways allowed. No gyms, no cinemas.
Level 4: Same as Level 3 with most shops closed. Essential services like supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations open. No take aways.
So what is changing:
The Government is now emphasizing those over 12 years to be vaccinated and it seems Lockdown Level 4 may be in the past. Much reliance is placed on science studies and tests. These seem to indicate at 90% vaccination rate there will be about 600 deaths and 6,000 hospitalizations. This would still be too much for our health care system to cope with. Remember our NZ public hospital system is free, or shall we say funded by the taxpayer. The government is still waiting for other studies and tests before recommending those under 12 years the need to be vaccinated.
There is much discussion at the moment on vaccination passports. While the government is discussing this, I also understand the airlines introduced NZ rules for travel to NZ, proof of vaccination and a negative test within the previous 72 hours before boarding.
How does this affect you?
1. Currently Auckland is at level 3; the rest of NZ at level 2. (Maybe a change next week).
2. NZ will need to be at Level Zero, to allow tourists into the country.
3. My suggestion is to have a “wait and see” till about mid-December, or even if you are able to wait until late December 2021. I shall give another update at that time
4. My opinion, as to what I see happening. NZ borders will not open for tourism, till NZ gets to the 90% plus vaccination rate. I do not see this till about Easter 2022 at the earliest, as we still have many who are refusing the vaccine. If this happens this would mean your trip here could be delayed or cancelled.
In the meantime our “summer season” opens on October 1 and most anglers take a day or two or three days off work. Sick leave or bereavement leave – it is amazing how many Aunt Doris have funerals on October 1, year after year! I shall be fishing the Rangitikei River, weather permitting and here is a YouTube link taken just February last year. Our accommodation is only one mile from this location.
Your NZ fishing friend