New Zealand’s foreign minister on Tuesday said the country has to stand up for itself after China warned its backing of Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Organization (WHO) could damage bilateral ties. Taiwan, with the strong support of the United States, has stepped up its lobbying to be allowed to take part as an observer at next week’s World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO’s decision-making body – a move which has angered China. Taiwan is excluded from the WHO due to the objections of China, which views the island as one of its provinces.
New Zealand will phase out its coronavirus lockdown over the next 10 days after successfully containing the virus, although some restrictions will remain, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday. Ardern said that from Thursday shopping malls, restaurants, cinemas and playgrounds will reopen — with the country moving to Level Two on its four-tier system. The 39-year-old leader warned “none of us can assume COVID is not with us” but said New Zealand currently had only 90 active cases after a seven-week lockdown.
While most countries are working on ways to contain the coronavirus, New Zealand has set itself a much more ambitious goal: eliminating it altogether. The virus “doesn’t have superpowers,” said Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccine expert at the University of Auckland. If any place could be described as socially distant it would be New Zealand, surrounded by stormy seas, with Antarctica to the south.