Several public health requirements, including the seven-day mandatory isolation period and the mandatory wearing of face masks for visitors to healthcare facilities will be removed. This pivotal decision was announced today by Minister of Health, Dr. Ayesha Verrall.
Dr. Verrall highlighted the positive trajectory that the country has experienced in terms of COVID-19 indicators. “Fluctuations in case numbers are to be expected, but we’ve observed a consistent downward trend in overall COVID-19 case rates, wastewater levels, and hospitalisations since June,” she stated. Over the past month, reported COVID-19 cases have reached their lowest levels since February 2022.
Long-term COVID-19 Management
Acknowledging the collective effort of the nation, Dr. Verrall attributed this milestone to the resilience and vigilance of New Zealanders throughout the pandemic.
“Our approach has evolved from emergency response to sustainable, long-term management,” she emphasised.
The decision to lift these restrictions is rooted in a comprehensive assessment of the current situation. “The public health risk from COVID-19 is now deemed low compared to previous stages of the pandemic,” Dr. Verrall affirmed. The country’s strong immunity levels and effective healthcare planning have contributed to this favourable scenario.
While the removal of these measures signifies a significant milestone, Dr. Verrall highlighted the importance of ongoing precautions. “Mask wearing remains a crucial preventive measure, especially in healthcare and disability care settings, to curb the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19,” she emphasised.
Dr. Verrall urged anyone feeling unwell or testing positive for COVID-19 to adhere to the Ministry of Health’s guidance and stay home for a period of five days. “We’ve reached this point thanks to the hard work and care demonstrated by New Zealanders,” she added.
This decision comes as COVID-19 hospital admissions have accounted for only 2.2% of total admissions, and the nation appears to have surpassed the winter influenza peak. Reflecting on the journey, Dr. Verrall expressed her gratitude for the collective effort in keeping communities safe. “COVID-19 changed the world. It was an unknown to virtually all of us. I appreciate the efforts Kiwis have taken, from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South, to prioritise safety,” she concluded.
As New Zealand continues its path towards a new phase of pandemic management, the removal of these remaining restrictions marks a significant achievement in the country’s ongoing fight against COVID-19.