Sydney, Australia, Sep 12 (EFE).- New Zealand announced Monday that it would allow the entry of unvaccinated travelers from Sep. 26.
“Today marks a milestone in our response. Finally, rather than feeling that Covid-19 dictates what happens to us, our lives, and our futures, we take back control,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.
The measures announced by Ardern include the lifting of the Covid-19 vaccine mandate, which was still in effect for people who worked with the elderly or the disabled. Employers will now be allowed to regulate these requirements.
“Vaccination requirements for all travelers arriving into New Zealand including air crew also ends” on Sep. 25, she added.
However, Ardern said that travelers would still be required to test on the first and fifth days after arrival and isolate for seven days if the result is positive.
From midnight on Monday, the government will also remove the Covid-19 Protection Framework, or the traffic light system, which imposed strict restrictions in case of a maximum alert.
The mandatory use of face masks was also scrapped Monday, with the exception of healthcare and aged residential care facilities.
The lifting of Covid-19 restrictions comes amid a declining rate of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations as well as a high rate of vaccination and greater access to anti-viral drugs to treat the disease, according to Ardern.
New Zealand, where 90 percent of the target population has been fully vaccinated, has recorded some 1.76 million infections since the start of the pandemic.
This includes 1,950 deaths and almost 11,000 active cases.
Most of the cases in New Zealand were recorded after the emergence of the omicron variant, which coincided with the lifting of entry restrictions for New Zealanders returning to the country.
Daily cases at that time rose from a few hundred to thousands.
During the pandemic, the Ardern administration was praised worldwide for its aggressive approach to contain the spread of the virus.
This included the confinement of the country after the detection of a few infections and the closure in March 2020 of its international borders, which were gradually reopened between February and August. EFE