New Zealand scraps most Covid rules as coronavirus battle winds down

WELLINGTON: New Zealand will no longer require people to wear masks in indoor public spaces or get vaccinated to work in certain roles, as the country calms the pandemic and learns to living with Covid-19.
From midnight, there is no need to wear a face covering anywhere except in medical facilities such as hospitals and aged care facilities, Prime Minister. Jacinda Ardern told a news conference Monday in Wellington. The framework used to specify the level of risk to the community from Covid-19 and the corresponding restrictions will be removed, she said.
“It’s time to safely turn the page on our Covid-19 management and live without the special measures we’ve used in the past,” Ardern said. “Ultimately, instead of feeling that Covid dictates what happens to us, our lives, and our future, we take back control.”
The move brings the curtain down on New Zealand’s pandemic response some two and a half years after the measures were first implemented. While strict national lockdowns and border closures initially kept Covid-19 dormant, the virus has spread rapidly this year and many people have ceased to abide by the mask-wearing rules. .
With the number of cases and hospitalizations falling as winter ends, and vaccination levels high in the population, Ardern said the country is in a position to remove its remaining restrictions.
Some businesses may still require customers to wear masks but will make their own decisions. It will also be up to employers to decide whether to require their workforce to be vaccinated, with the government’s vaccination mandate ending September 26.
From midnight tonight, visitors to New Zealand will no longer need to be vaccinated or be required to submit rapid antigen test results upon arrival.
The only remaining requirement is that those who test positive for Covid-19 are isolated at home for seven days. Ardern said household contacts would not need to be quarantined and would only be required to take a daily test.
“In a nutshell, we are now moving to a simple two-requirement system for masks in healthcare settings and a seven-day quarantine for positive cases,” she said. “For the first time in two years, we can approach summer with much-needed certainty from New Zealanders and business needs, helping to drive greater economic activity crucial to the recovery. our economy.”

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