New Zealand, whose pandemic response was closely watched, removes last of COVID-19 restrictions

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins proclaims an finish to all COVID-19 restrictions throughout a press convention on the Parliament in Wellington, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. New Zealand eliminated the final of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions, marking the top of a authorities response to the pandemic that was watched carefully around the globe. Credit score: Mark Mitchell/NZ Herald through AP

New Zealand on Monday eliminated the final of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions, marking the top of a authorities response to the pandemic that was watched carefully around the globe.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins mentioned the requirement to put on masks in hospitals and different well being care amenities would finish at midnight, as would a requirement for individuals who caught the virus to isolate themselves for seven days.

New Zealand was initially praised internationally for eliminating the virus solely after imposing nationwide lockdowns and strict border controls.

However because the pandemic wore on and extra infectious variants took maintain, the nation’s zero-tolerance strategy grew to become untenable. It will definitely deserted its elimination technique.

Reflecting on the federal government’s response to the virus over greater than three years, Hipkins mentioned that through the peak of the pandemic he had longed for the day he may finish all restrictions, however now it felt anticlimactic.

He mentioned about 3,250 New Zealanders from a inhabitants of 5 million had died with COVID-19 as a main or secondary trigger—about one-fifth of the mortality fee in the US.

“Whereas there have been little question fractures in our collective sense of unity, I consider that New Zealanders might be enormously pleased with what we achieved collectively,” Hipkins mentioned. “We stayed house, we made sacrifices, we received vaccinated, and there may be completely no query, we saved lives.”

Well being Minister Ayesha Verrall mentioned coronavirus case numbers and hospitalizations have been low and had been trending down since June, and the publicly funded well being system had confronted much less disruption from the virus this southern winter.

“Now we have been capable of full 16,000 extra operations than we did final yr, and so that could be a excellent indication our well being system is on a way more even keel than it was,” she mentioned.

The announcement comes two months earlier than a basic election.

David Seymour, the chief of the opposition ACT Occasion, mentioned the federal government had been treating folks like kids for too lengthy.

“They’ve been completely satisfied to impose excessive prices with little profit and have taken their candy time getting round to fixing it,” Seymour mentioned in an announcement.

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New Zealand, whose pandemic response was carefully watched, removes final of COVID-19 restrictions (2023, August 14)
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