Chris Hipkins says it’s a matter of when, not if, the Delta will spread outside of Auckland, where the majority of cases are currently being found.
That was why it was important to get vaccinated, the Covid-19 Response Minister said.
“It should be clear to everybody now that despite everybody’s best efforts … we are more likely to see cases emerging outside of Auckland,” he said.
“No country has been able to stamp out Delta once it’s taken hold, and that’s likely to be the same for us.”
Hipkins said while the warning that Delta could be coming to other parts of the country was “stark”, “Delta is now on your doorstep”.
“So the best thing that New Zealanders can do to protect themselves, their family, their friends and their community is to get vaccinated.
“The best thing we can do to enjoy greater freedoms, and ensure we have greater freedoms over Christmas and summer when I know people want to be able to get together, is to make sure we have as high rate of vaccination as possible,” he said.
He said high vaccination rates outside of Auckland would make sure other regions don’t have stringent restrictions over summer if cases emerge.
Hipkins praised Auckland’s DHBs for inching closer to a 90 per cent first dose vaccination rate.
First dose vaccination rates for Waitematā, Auckland, and Counties Manukau DHBs are 91 per cent, 93 per cent, and 88 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, second dose vaccination rates for those DHBs are 77 per cent, 82 per cent, and 74 per cent respectively.