x

Travel

New Zealand to Remove Pandemic Mandates as Omicron Wanes

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand will remove many of its COVID-19 pandemic mandates over the next two weeks as an outbreak of the omicron variant begins to wane.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Wednesday that people will no longer need to be vaccinated to visit places like retail stores, restaurants and bars from April 4. Gone, too, will be a requirement to scan QR barcodes at those venues.

A vaccine mandate will be scrapped for some workers — including teachers, police officers and waiters — though it will continue for health care and aged-care workers, border workers and corrections officers.

Also gone from Friday is a limit on outdoor crowds of 100. That will allow some concerts and big sporting events like marathons to resume. An indoor limit of 100 people will be raised to 200 people, and could later be removed altogether.

Remaining in place is a requirement that people wear masks in many enclosed spaces, including in stores, on public transport and, for children aged 8 and over, in school classrooms.

Ardern said the government’s actions over the past two years to limit the spread of the coronavirus had saved thousands of lives and helped the economy.

“But while we’ve been successful, it’s also been bloody hard,” Ardern said.

“Everyone has had to give up something to make this work, and some more than others,” she said.

The changes mean that many restrictions will be removed before tourists start arriving back in New Zealand.

Earlier this month, the government announced that Australian tourists would be welcomed back from April 12 and tourists from many other countries, including the U.S., Canada, and Britain, from May 1.

International tourism used to account for about 20% of New Zealand’s foreign income and more than 5% of GDP but evaporated after the South Pacific nation imposed some of the world’s strictest border controls after the pandemic began.

New Zealand continues to see some of its highest rates of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations since the pandemic began, with an average 17,000 new infections being reported each day.

But Ardern said modeling shows that the biggest city of Auckland is already significantly past the peak of its omicron outbreak and the rest of the country will soon follow.

Health experts warned that some countries which had dropped restrictions as omicron faded were now experiencing another surge of cases.

 

RELATED

Europe is officially home to the top three beaches in the world, out-ranking famous beach destinations like the Caribbean and Hawaii.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

New York Greek Independence Parade Honors 1821 and Grim Anniversary for Cyprus (Vid & Pics)

NEW YORK – The New York Greek Independence Parade on Fifth Avenue, commemorating the 203rd anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821, was held in an atmosphere of emotion and pride on April 14.

CHICAGO – The National Hellenic Museum (NHM) presents the Trial of Pericles on Wednesday, April 17, 7 PM, at the Harris Theater, 205 East Randolph Street in Chicago.

NICOSIA - Cyprus - home to United Kingdom military bases where fighter jets were used to help defend Israel from an Iranian attack using missiles and drones - has stepped up security on the island amid fears the Middle East conflict could worsen.

A plot of land for sale in Tripoli, Arkadia Prefecture, 268.

ATHENS - Expecting another record year in tourism to surpass the numbers in 2023 in arrivals and revenues, Greece’s infrastructure - particularly on overwhelmed islands - isn’t adequate to deal with the demands even as more resorts keep opening.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.