Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

New Zealand to gradually reopen to the world next year

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a roadmap Thursday for the staggered reopening of its borders while maintaining a COVID-19 elimination strategy.

Why it matters: New Zealand has recorded some of the lowest coronavirus numbers in the world, reporting fewer than 2,900 infections and 26 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began. It's detected no community cases for 166 days, containing the virus to managed quarantine facilities.


  • The country effectively closed its border to non-residents in March last year as the pandemic spread across the world.
  • It has managed to largely keep the coronavirus out despite some residents returning to quarantine hotels from abroad infected with the Delta variant, health officials noted at a forum ahead of Ardern's announcement.

What she's saying: "Our ultimate goal is to get to quarantine-free travel for all vaccinated travelers," Ardern said.

  • "A careful approach that says, there won't be zero cases, but when there is one in the community, we crush it, is the best way to maintain our normal lives while we monitor the twists and turns of COVID-19 over the next six months."

The big picture: Ardern's government has been criticized by opposition figures for a slower COVID-19 vaccine rollout than other countries. The prime minister has maintained that New Zealand must not participate in vaccine nationalism and wait for coronavirus-affected countries to conduct rollouts first.

  • Now, NZ is ramping up its rollout and roughly a third of New Zealand residents have received their first dose and over 20% their second of Pfizer — the only coronavirus vaccine currently in the the country.
  • By Sept. 1, everyone over 16 in the country can be inoculated against the virus and the government expects the vaccine to be offered to all residents by December.

What's next: The government will implement a phased risk-based system for travelers entering New Zealand from early 2022.

  • "Low-Risk, Medium-Risk and High-Risk travel pathways will be created, and which pathway a traveller takes will be based on the risk associated with where they are coming from and their vaccination status," per a statement from Ardern.
  • Under this system, vaccinated travelers from high-risk countries would need to quarantine in a managed facility for 14 days. Those from medium-risk countries would have a reduced quarantine period, or be allowed to self-isolate.
  • Travelers from low-risk countries would not have to quarantine upon arrival.

Of note: New Zealand and Australia opened a quarantine-free "travel bubble" in April. But this was paused last month after Australia was hit by an outbreak of cases driven by the Delta variant.

  • Health officials noted at the forum that the elimination strategy didn't mean that the virus would be eradicated. Rather, officials would move to "stamp it out" when an outbreak arises.

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories