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Covid-19 traffic light system scrapped from midnight, PM Jacinda Ardern reveals

From RNZ

All mask wearing requirements except in healthcare and aged care will be scrapped, and household contacts will no longer need to isolate, the government has confirmed.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Covid-19 Response Ayesha Verrall this afternoon confirmed Cabinet’s decision to scrap the Covid-19 Protection Framework – known as the “traffic light” system – and the majority of related public health restrictions.

They said the changes would include:

  • Mask-wearing only required in healthcare and aged care: including hospitals, pharmacies, primary care, aged residential and disability-related residential care
  • People who test positive for Covid-19 must still isolate for seven days, but household contacts no longer required to
  • All government vaccine mandates to end on 26 September
  • Removal of all vaccine requirements for incoming travellers and air crew
  • Leave support payments to continue
  • All New Zealanders over age 65, and Māori over age 50, to get automatic access to Covid-19 antiviral drugs if they test positive for Covid-19
  • From Tuesday, case and hospitalisation number reporting becomes weekly, not daily

Ardern said it marked a milestone in New Zealand’s response to the virus. She said people may still be asked to wear a mask in some places but it would be at the discretion of those managing the location, not a government requirement. Vaccination requirements would also be at the discretion of employers.

“Cabinet has determined that based on public health advice we are able to remove the traffic light system and with that decision claim back the certainty we have all lost over the last three years.

“For the first time in two years we can approach summer with the much needed certainty New Zealanders and business need, helping to drive greater economic activity critical to our economic recovery.

She said there was no question the actions of New Zealanders had saved thousands of lives, but the risks were changing.

When we moved into our first lockdown the objective was simple: To save lives and livelihoods, Ardern said.

“I’m sure there will be many who over the years will pore over the details of every nation’s response including ours. They’ll certainly measure the outcomes in different ways but when you look at countries of our size and compare them, they’ll find the tragic loss for instance of 15,500 people in Scotland and less than 2000 in New Zealand.”

“The most recent health advice now tells us that with the lowest cases and hospitalisations since February, our population well vaccinated, and expanded access to anti-viral medicines, New Zealand is in a position to move forward.”

We could move on with confidence that our actions had successfully managed cases down, she said.

“This pandemic was never one to be taken on alone, and it never was. And so today I say again to everyone from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

Dr Verrall announced another 40,000 courses of antiviral medication had also been purchased and would be freely available to older New Zealanders.

“Anyone over the age of 65, and Māori and Pacific people over the age of 50, or anyone who meets Pharmac requirements, can access the treatment in the early stages of contracting the virus,” she said.

“This means more than double the number of New Zealanders will be able to access these medicines if they need them than previously.”

36 COMMENTS

  1. I will go shopping at Pac n’ Sav tomorrow.

    Usually, 90% of shoppers wear masks. I wonder what percentage will be still wearing them tomorrow morning?

    If the level of infections continues to drop (just test less, boys) with no one wearing masks, then maybe people will begin to wonder about their effectiveness in the first place.

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  2. So far so good.

    Now let’s turn our undivided attention to the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020, the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill (No 2) & any other freedom restricting legislation this arsehole administration have snuck in.

    Until this legislation is struck out we can be dropped back into lockdowns, mandates & anything else the government may desire at the whim of the Executive.

    They are not to be trusted. They’ve done nothing to earn our trust & we’ll live under the Sword of Damocles until the enabling laws are rescinded.

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  3. Our Office Karen just sent an email round saying she would like us to all keep wearing them at our desks
    “We should all keep doing our bit just to be extra safe”

    I have ignored the mad witch all along and have never worn one.
    *This was the same woman who ordered everyone to run back inside and grab their masks during a fire drill….

    17

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