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New Zealand launched its COVID-19 vaccination programme Saturday however warned the preliminary rollout was solely a small step within the lengthy battle towards the pandemic.

The Pacific nation has been broadly praised for its dealing with of the coronavirus and has seen simply 26 deaths in a inhabitants of 5 million.

The vaccine drive begins simply days after authorities lifted a coronavirus lockdown in Auckland which confined a lot of the metropolis’s residents to their houses for 3 days.

“It is the beginning of what we’d name a brand new chapter however we nonetheless have a protracted approach to go,” mentioned Ashley Bloomfield, the nation’s director-general of well being.

The rollout marked a “small however vital step in a protracted journey”, he added, with the preliminary deal with excessive danger residents and people getting back from abroad, together with border and quarantine staff.

Trans-Tasman neighbour Australia is to start an analogous rollout of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines to frontline staff from Monday.

Each nations have closed borders to virtually all worldwide travellers, severely hurting the tourism trade which is a key pillar of the economic system.

Regardless of the vaccine program, the New Zealand authorities has mentioned it was unlikely abroad vacationers could be allowed to return this yr.

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New Zealand says COVID vaccinations ‘small step in lengthy journey’ (2021, February 20)
retrieved 20 February 2021

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