By Emma Dooney
Jacinda Ardern has denounced Boris Johnson's plans to drop mandatory face masks and social distancing, warning that the world has yet to beat COVID-19.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand has expressed strong words in response to questions about Britain's freedom date of 19 July, when people will be legally allowed to stop wearing face masks and social distancing.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that the country will go ahead with the final stage of its four-step recovery plan, telling Brits they need to “learn to live with” the virus. He also predicted that COVID cases could rise to 50,000 within a fortnight, leading to "more deaths" related to the disease.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Ardern emphasized that her government will not be emulating the UK's roadmap back to normality.
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"Different countries are taking different choices," she said. “The priority for me is how do we continue to preserve what New Zealand has managed to gain and give ourselves options because this virus is not done with the world yet.”
Ardern's sentiments were shared by the country’s Covid-19 response minister, Chris Hipkins, who argued that the UK's expected rise in cases is "not something that we have been willing to accept in New Zealand."
“One of the things the UK government have been very clear about [is] that there will be a spike in cases, potentially thousands of cases a day. There will be more people dying,” he said.
“We are likely to see more incremental change than dramatic change where we wake up one morning and say: ‘We just go back to the way things were before Covid-19.’”
New Zealand has also not ruled out placing the UK on a 'no-fly' list. “If they do get an increase in cases, we will be keeping a close eye on what that means for the risk of people traveling from the UK and that will inform our decisions here,” Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, said on Wednesday.
New Zealand has been widely praised by the international community for its handling of the coronavirus. The country has recorded just 2763 coronavirus cases and 26 deaths since March 2020, having implemented tight border controls and a strict quarantine policy early on in the pandemic.
Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.
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