HomeWorldNew Zealand lifts most remaining COVID-19 restrictions; Drops Mask, Vaccine Mandate

New Zealand lifts most remaining COVID-19 restrictions; Drops Mask, Vaccine Mandate

wellington: New Zealand on Monday lifted most of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions as the government signaled a return to normalcy for the first time since the pandemic began. People will no longer be required to wear masks in supermarkets, stores, buses or planes. The last remaining vaccine mandate – on health care workers – will expire, and tourists will no longer need vaccinations to visit the country.

The government announced that it is completely removing its so-called COVID traffic light structure and leaving only two main restrictions – that people who test positive for the virus are isolated for seven days, and That people wear masks when visiting health care facilities such as hospitals. aged care homes.

The changes come as an Omicron variant outbreaks and the Southern Hemisphere winter comes to an end. Case numbers in New Zealand are at their lowest level since February.

“The changes we made today are significant. They are a milestone in our response,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“This is a time when, in the end, instead of realizing that COVID decides what happens to us, our lives, and our future, we take back control.”

He said these changes would help drive business activity, which is crucial for the country’s economic recovery.

“This will be the first summer in three years when the question isn’t: What will happen?” Ardern said.

The end of government restrictions won’t stop individual workplaces or shops from enforcing their own rules, though most people expect mask use to drop as government restrictions end just before midnight on Monday.

New Zealand achieved initial success in fighting the pandemic, managing to completely eradicate the virus after closing its borders and meticulous contact-tracing cases. But its approach changed as stamping more permeable forms proved impossible.

By the end of March, the country of 5 million had only reported 65 virus deaths. Since the one omicron wave has taken hold, that number has grown to about 2,000. But it is still low compared to the death rate in many other countries.

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