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Why Jacinda Ardern giving up on eliminating COVID-19 is a political gamble for the popular PM

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For 18 months, New Zealand has enjoyed the reputation as the little island that could.

The so-called “team of 5 million” has lived under the threat of strict and sharp lockdowns in exchange for the comfort of knowing it would not have to live with COVID-19 in the community. 

And for a while, there was a sense of pride and unity over that approach. 

However, things have now changed. 

On Monday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was time the country transitioned away from the elimination strategy — a huge departure from the approach much of the country had bought into a long time ago. 

“Elimination was important because we didn’t have…

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