Manatū Hauora – the Ministry of Health is today publishing the Aotearoa New Zealand Strategic Framework for Managing COVID-19 which sets out how the Government will continue to protect New Zealanders from the impacts of the virus.
Globally, Aotearoa New Zealand’s COVID-19 response has been regarded as a success. We have a high vaccination rate, with 90% of the population over 12 years having completed a primary course of COVID-19 vaccination. We also have one of the OECD’s lowest COVID-19 death rates, at 558 deaths per million people, compared with Australia (791), Singapore (305), South Korea (669), and the United Kingdom (3,345).
Over the course of the pandemic, our strategy has shifted to make sure our response was the right size to meet the challenges of the changing virus, from elimination to minimisation to protection. We now have high levels of immunity, better access to antivirals, improved surveillance and diagnostics, and open borders.
The Strategic Framework outlines how we can strengthen our preparedness for future pandemics and apply the lessons learned over the past three years into a new sustainable approach to managing COVID-19.
Overall, COVID-19 appears to be stabilising and the current expectation is that cases will continue to oscillate with less hospitalisations than last year. The greatest impact of COVID-19 is on our at-risk communities, and we know that tailored programmes can substantially mitigate these risks.
As well as setting a new “business as usual” course for the management of COVID-19, the Strategic Framework highlights the need to continue to protect vulnerable communities and retain the ability to rapidly scale Aotearoa New Zealand’s response, should a new variant of concern emerge, or a previous variant of concern re-emerge.