New Zealand will move away from its Covid zero approach and resulting lockdowns from December 2.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Auckland’s three and half month long lockdown will end next month with new measures to live with the virus instead.
Ardern said the country would adopt a traffic light system with different restrictions for regions depending on their status – orange, green or red.
“The hard truth is that Delta is here and not going away,” she said.
“While no country has been able to eliminate Delta completely, New Zealand is better positioned than most to tackle it.”
The announcement follows Air New Zealand’s decision to cancel more than 1000 flights between Australia and New Zealand through to December 31 due to “continued border uncertainty”.
“I appreciate how difficult this news will be, but our hands are tied until border restrictions ease, and we receive further clarity from the New Zealand Government,” said Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty.
“We appreciate this latest news means some customers will have to wait longer before reuniting with loved ones. We’re continuing to do everything we can to get them home safely as quickly as possible.”