Covid unlikely to die out, says New Zealand health chief Ashley Bloomfield | World news

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Covid-19 is unlikely to ever die out, even with vaccination efforts, but it could become more transmissible and less deadly, New Zealand’s director general of health has warned.

“If you think about influenza, which was first recorded in 1172 I think, in Europe … these viruses don’t tend to die out … They change over time and in fact what we are seeing with these new variants with the Covid-19 virus is that they tend become more transmissible and less deadly over time,” Dr Ashley Bloomfield told the AM Show on Wednesday.

However, Bloomfield said that vaccines would help humans develop immunity, adding to the natural immunity that people who have been infected will also develop.

He also warned if some of the new variants of Covid-19 escape managed isolation and quarantine, the impact could be greater than it was last year. These mutations have been detected in New Zealand’s managed isolation facilities.

Currently, all people arriving in New Zealand need to quarantine for 14 days, while most travellers also need to undergo an extra “day zero” Covid-19 test. They will be required to stay in their managed isolation room until a result has been received.

However, Bloomfield said there was always a possibility that the virus could “slip through”. “We’ve got a huge amount of effort going in at the border to make sure it’s as watertight as it can be but it’s a big operation,” he said.

He said there were 2,000 to 3,000 people coming in every day that needed to quarantine but did not rule out that there may be blunter measures needed if the situation required it.

“It may involve future lockdowns but, of course, that’s what we’re wanting to avoid,” he said. “That’s not something we would reach for straightaway and it very much depends on the situation.”

While the country’s testing programme was robust, Bloomfield said all New Zealanders needed to play their part in keeping the virus out. That included using the Covid Tracer app, the usage of which has dropped dramatically over the holiday period.

“We’ve all been on holiday, we’ve been out of our usual routines but we’re getting back into those now, and now’s the time not to be complacent. We’ve got to be more vigilant than we were last year.

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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Covid unlikely to die out, says New Zealand health chief Ashley Bloomfield | World news

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