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New Zealand removes latest restrictions due to the covid-19 pandemic

New Zealand today removed the latest restrictions imposed in the country due to the new coronavirus, marking the end of a policy of response to the covid-19 pandemic.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the requirement to wear masks in nursing homes, hospitals and other health facilities will end at midnight.

The seven-day isolation requirement for people who have contracted the virus will also end. In a statement, the Ministry of Health recommends that those infected voluntarily isolate themselves for five days.

At a press conference, Hipkins admitted that, during the height of the pandemic, he looked forward to the day when he could end all restrictions, imposed more than three years ago, but now the decision seemed just a detail.

The head of government underlined that around 3,250 people died due to covid-19 in New Zealand, a country with a population of five million, about a fifth of the death rate in the United States.

“While there were undoubtedly fractures in our collective sense of unity, I believe New Zealanders can be very proud,” said Hipkins. “We stayed at home, we made sacrifices, we were vaccinated and without a doubt, we saved lives,” he added.

Medicine doctor and robotics research and analysis, Scientist diagnose checking coronavirus or covid-19 testing result with modern virtual screen in laboratory, Medical technology and inhibition of disease outbreaks.

The Minister of Health said that the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations is low and had been decreasing since June, and that the public health system was less affected by covid-19 during the current winter in New Zealand.

“We were able to complete 16,000 more operations than last year, which is a very good indication that our healthcare system is much more stable,” said Ayesha Verrall.

The end of restrictions comes two months before the general elections.

The leader of the main opposition party, ACT, said the government had long treated New Zealanders like children.

Authorities “were happy to impose high costs with little benefit and took a long time to change direction,” David Seymour said in a statement.

New Zealand was initially praised internationally for having managed to prevent the entry of the new coronavirus, through the imposition of one of the toughest policies in the world, which included confinements and rigid border controls.

But as the pandemic progressed and more infectious variants emerged, the zero-tolerance approach became unsustainable and the country ended up progressively reopening its borders from February 2022.

*With Lusa

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