Vaccine passports for domestic purposes are being axed in New Zealand, with mandates being removed in almost all industries, though not health and social care. Sky News has more.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the changes on Wednesday as she unveiled the country’s post-Omicron peak plan.
Ms Ardern said cases had decreased significantly in Auckland, with a decline expected across the nation by early April.
She added there had been more than 500,000 reported cases of COVID-19 in the country of five million, although “expert modellers say there have probably been 1.7 million actual infections”.
“That figure, coupled with 95% of New Zealanders being fully vaccinated, means we now have a high level of collective immunity,” Ms Ardern said.
“New Zealanders have worked incredibly hard to get through this pandemic and as a result of those efforts we are now in a position to move forward and change the way we do things.
“First up we have simplified the COVID-19 Protection Framework to target restrictions at those activities that reduce transmission the most.”
As part of the sweeping changes, New Zealanders will no longer have to prove they are vaccinated to enter venues covered under My Vaccine Pass from early next month.
“From April 4th, My Vaccine Pass will no longer be required by the Government meaning Kiwis will no longer have to be vaccinated in order to enter those venues covered by the Pass,” Ms Ardern said.
“Scanning in requirements for the vaccinated will also end. We recognise that some businesses, events or venues may still choose to use vaccine passes, so we will maintain the infrastructure for them.”
Changes to the vaccine mandates – which had sparked protests outside parliament in Wellington – will come into effect from the same date, with only some workforces still required to be vaccinated.
“From April 4th, vaccine mandates will be removed, except for health and disability, aged care, corrections and border workforces,” Ms Ardern said.
“Like many other countries we are retaining a small number of mandates targeted at keeping our COVID-19 frontline staff safe and to ensure our most vulnerable, like those in aged care facilities or those with disabilities, are protected from the virus.
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