Sunday, May 26, 2024

Masks off as final COVID restrictions removed

Minister of Health, Ayesha Verrall today announced the removal of New Zealand’s remaining COVID-19 public health requirements, effective from midnight.

The removal means visitors to health care facilities will no longer have to wear masks, while the 7-day mandatory isolation period for those who contract COVID-19 has also been scrapped.

“While fluctuations from week to week are expected, overall COVID-19 case rates, wastewater levels and hospitalisations have been trending downwards since the beginning of June and over the past month reported COVID-19 cases have hit their lowest levels since February 2022,” the Minister said.

She said public health officials have advised the risk from COVID-19 is now considered low compared to other stages of the pandemic, making it safe to remove the final requirements.

“While our case numbers will continue to fluctuate, we have not seen the dramatic peaks that characterised COVID-19 rates last year,” Dr Verrall said.

She said COVID-19 had put considerably less pressure on the health system this winter, while other illnesses have been better planned for and managed.  

“This, paired with the population’s immunity levels, means Cabinet and I am advised we’re positioned to safely remove the remaining COVID-19 requirements.”

“We’ve only reached this point thanks to the hard work and care New Zealanders have taken over the course of the pandemic. 

“And while not mandated, the Ministry of Health guidance is to stay at home for five days if you’re unwell or have tested positive for COVID-19,” Minister Verrall said.

She confirmed that COVID-19 infections accounted for 2.2% of hospital admissions this morning

“It has been a long road, however thanks to lots of hard work, New Zealand’s COVID-19 approach has moved from an emergency response to sustainable long-term management,” Minister Verrall said.

“Mask wearing remains an important way we can prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in health and disability care settings

“COVID-19 changed the world. It was an unknown to virtually all of us. I appreciate from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South the efforts Kiwis took to keep themselves and their community safe,” Dr Verrall said.  

Latest Articles