Thursday, April 18, 2024

Covid-19 Protection Framework ends tonight

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  • The Covid-19 Protection Framework ends at 11.59pm tonight, Monday September 12
  • All mask wearing requirements removed, except in healthcare and aged care facilities
  • Only Covid-19 positive individuals required to isolate for seven days, household contacts no longer need to 
  • All Government vaccine mandates to end in two weeks on September 26
  • Removal of all vaccination requirements for incoming travellers and air crew
  • Support for business and workers to continue through leave support payments
  • All New Zealanders aged 65 and over, and Māori aged 50 and over to have automatic access to Covid anti-virals if they test positive

The Covid-19 Protection Framework, also known as the traffic light system, will be removed from 11.59pm tonight, Monday, September 12, so all New Zealanders can continue to move forward with certainty, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

“It’s time to safely turn the page on our Covid-19 management and live without the extraordinary measures we have previously used,” Ardern said.

“Today marks a milestone in our response. Finally, rather than feeling that Covid dictates what happens to us, our lives, and our futures, we take back control.

“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.

“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. 

“You will no longer be required by Government to wear a mask anywhere, except in healthcare settings like hospitals, GPs and aged residential care facilities.

“Some places, such as workplaces, special events, or marae may ask you to wear a mask, but this will be at their discretion and no longer a Government requirement. Please respect those who choose to keep wearing masks as a form of protection.  

“All remaining Government vaccine mandates will end in two weeks on September 26. It will now be an employer’s discretion as to whether they require their workforce to be vaccinated.

“Vaccination requirements for all travellers arriving into New Zealand including air crew also ends, and the requirement to test on day 0/1 and 5/6 will now just be encouraged.

“Our 7-day isolation period for Covid cases will remain.

“However, the 7-day isolation period will now only be required for those who test positive for Covid-19. Their household contacts will only be asked to undertake a daily RAT test before going about their life as normal.

“In short, we now move on to a simple two requirements system of masks in healthcare settings and 7 days isolation for positive cases only.

“So today, I say again to everyone, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

Covid-19 Minister Ayesha Verrall also announced today a significant additional purchase of 40,000 more anti-viral medicine courses, expected to enter New Zealand in the next few days. 

“We are giving greater access to anti-viral medicines for New Zealanders, and have secured agreements that provide a significant boost to our supply for the long term,” Verrall said. 

“So now, 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.

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

“There is no question – thousands of lives have been saved by the efforts of Kiwis. Be it iwi and Maori health providers, Pacifica organisations, aged care providers, businesses or the sacrifices of New Zealanders separated from loved ones, everyone played a part.”

Hospitality welcomes removal of traffic light system
Removing the Covid-19 traffic light system is the best news hospitality and accommodationbusinesses have heard for 2½ years, says Hospitality New Zealand.
“At last. Operators have been hanging out for this news for a very long time,” says chief executive Julie White.
“This will make a difference to all businesses, big and small, as it will hopefully give more people the confidence they have been waiting for to socialise in venues, cafes, and restaurants.
“Now is the time to get going and make up for lost ground.
“Many businesses are still recovering from the restrictions of the past two years, and with our borders now open, there is real light at the end of the tunnel.
“Dare we hope for our best summer since 2019?
“On behalf of all hospitality and accommodation venues throughout the country, I would like to shout out to Kiwis for their ongoing support during these past 2½ years.
“Without your support during these testing times for us all, often going out of your way to visit our venues, for some it has meant you have saved businesses, jobs and kept communities going.
“Now let’s celebrate our freedom together.”

 

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