Jacinda Ardern says she would not tolerate tens of thousands of New Zealanders getting Covid-19 and dying for the nation to gain herd immunity before a vaccine is found.
Other nations have talked about herd immunity as a strategy but the Prime Minister told TVNZ1's Breakfast host John Campbell that was never an option for New Zealand.
"Unless you have herd immunity, which roughly means ... five per cent of your population either having been vaccinated or having had the disease, then that means working in a situation of having to manage our borders until we have a vaccination."
But the Prime Minister says she's never considered letting Covid-19 spread unchecked so New Zealand can develop herd immunity.
"There were some countries who initially talked about herd immunity as strategy. In New Zealand we never ever considered that as a possibility, ever.
"Herd immunity would've meant tens of thousands of New Zealanders dying and I simply would not tolerate that and I don't think any New Zealander would.
"I do think the world will face a situation where we will have to collectively manage a new normal until we have vaccinations available because ultimately the borders present a risk for the whole world."
Ms Ardern talked about the way China had brought its number of cases back under control, then shut of the borders to the outside world because of additional cases being brought in by people returning from overseas.
"This, I think will be the case for the whole world," she said.
She spoke to Breakfast today after New Zealand's first coronavirus-related death yesterday.
A woman in her 70s on the West Coast, who had been treated at Grey Base Hospital initially for influenza, died after her condition deteriorated over the weekend. She had other chronic conditions.
The death came as the total number of Covid-19 cases in new Zealand rose to 514 yesterday.