WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The New Zealand Prime Minister says the government will launch a pilot home isolation program for foreign travelers before expecting to increase vaccination rates.
New Zealanders currently have to quarantine in hotels for two weeks when they return from abroad.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday a pilot program that will allow New Zealanders to quarantine at home will include 150 business travelers arriving between October 30th and December 8th. The program includes monitoring and testing.
“The only reason we’re doing this self-isolation pilot now is to prepare for a heavily vaccinated population,” said Ardern.
“The intent is that in the first quarter of 2022, when more New Zealanders are vaccinated, it will be safer to self-isolate at home,” she added.
Of the eligible population in New Zealand aged 12 and over, 43% have been fully vaccinated, Ardern said.
In Auckland, the country’s most populous city, which has been on lockdown since August 17 after the highly contagious Delta variant leaked from hotel quarantine, 82% of the eligible population had mentioned at least a single dose of Pfizer’s double vaccine.
New Zealand has taken an unusual zero tolerance approach to the coronavirus and tried to eliminate the Delta variant entirely.
MORE ABOUT PANDEMIC:
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– DECLARATION: Who is Eligible for Pfizer Booster Vaccination in the United States?
Check out all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
HERE STILL HAPPEN:
SYDNEY – Australia’s Prime Minister says he expects his country to open its international border before the end of the year.
Australian governments agreed to ease tough restrictions on international travel when 80% of the population aged 16 and over were fully vaccinated.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the first steps would allow Australians to go and do
Fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents return to their homeland.
âThat will happen before the end of the year. It could happen a long time beforehand, âsaid Morrison to the American broadcaster CBS News.
More than 90% of the target age group in Australia’s most populous state and the state worst hit by the COVID-19 outbreak in the country will be vaccinated by the end of November, New South Wales Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said.
New South Wales reported 787 new locally acquired infections and 12 deaths in the past 24 hours on Monday.
The Sydney lockdown would ease on October 11 after 70% of the state’s population received a second dose of the vaccine, Berejiklian said. Since 85% of the target population has already been injected with at least a single dose of vaccine, the 80% target is expected to be reached two weeks after the 70% benchmark.
On December 1, the pandemic restrictions on unvaccinated people are expected to be lifted.
Dr. Kerry Chant, the state’s chief health officer, said she believed 92% of the target population would eventually be vaccinated.
New South Wales has the fastest vaccination in Australia after the Australian Capital Territory.
SEATTLE – A Washington State soldier who helped develop the agency’s use of drones has died on duty following a battle with COVID-19.
The Washington State Patrol said Detective Eric Gunderson died with family and friends on Sunday. He was 38 years old. Gunderson made frequent trips across the country to discuss the state patrol‘s use of drones.
The patrol said he contracted COVID-19 on one of those trips. Gunderson helped investigate the 2017 Amtrak derailment at DuPont and his work is credited with opening roads more quickly after accidents.
He leaves behind a wife and two sons. Gunderson’s death marks the first death for the agency since its 100th anniversary a few weeks ago, Chief John Batiste said. âAs I had hoped our second century of service would be more forgiving. But serving the public as we do has inherent dangers, and this pandemic has been an enemy of our agency and, indeed, of our state and our nation, “he said.
Governor Jay Inslee tweeted his condolences to Gunderson’s family, friends and colleagues.
LOS ANGELES – Public health officials have detected more than 200 coronavirus outbreaks among police or fire departments across the Los Angeles district since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The 211 outbreaks, which account for more than 2,500 cases between March 2020 and last month, account for 9% of total workplace outbreaks across the county, the newspaper reported on Sunday. However, they continue to occur regularly, even as police and fire service vaccination rates have increased and the number of individual coronavirus cases per outbreak has decreased since last winter.
The data showed that 38 outbreaks were detected by public safety authorities as of April this year – most in any month since the pandemic began. A month later, 35 outbreaks – the second most common – were recorded by the county health department.
Overall, more than half of the outbreaks have occurred at the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Fire Department, where some employees have filed lawsuits against a new rule that requires them to be vaccinated by next month. Thousands have indicated that they will seek medical or religious exemption from the mandate.
Vaccination rates for LAPD and LAFD workers are generally below the 68% of eligible county’s residents who received their vaccinations.
Critics have accused the city’s police and firefighters of ignoring public safety – and their sworn obligations to uphold them – by refusing to be vaccinated.