New Zealand has ended its traffic light system, which means international travellers will no longer need to be vaccinated to enter the country, and the mandatory COVID-19 testing is scrapped.
Prime Minister Rt Hon. Jacinda Ardern announced the changes to their COVID-19 settings from Parliament.
"The COVID-19 Protection Framework, also known as the traffic light system, will be removed from 11.59pm, Monday 12 September, so all New Zealanders can continue to move forward with certainty."
For international travellers and air crew to New Zealand, this meant that mask wearing will no longer be a requirement inside terminals, and will no longer need proof of Covid-19 vaccination to enter the country.
Although, the Rapid Antigen Testing will no longer be required for travellers arriving, however it is still encouraged.
All New Zealand Government vaccine mandates to end on 26 September, but employers can continue with their own mandate.
Prime Minister Arden said it’s time to safely turn the page on New Zealand's COVID-19 management, and live without the extraordinary measures they have previously used.
"Today marks a milestone in our response. Finally, rather than feeling that COVID dictates what happens to us, our lives, and our futures, we take back control."
She said people will no longer be required by Government to wear a mask anywhere, except in healthcare settings like hospitals, GPs and aged residential care facilities.
Some places, such as workplaces, special events, or marae may ask you to wear a mask, but this will be at their discretion and no longer a Government requirement. Please respect those who choose to keep wearing masks as a form of protection.
For the first time in two-years we can approach summer with the much needed certainty New Zealanders and business need, helping to drive greater economic activity critical to our economic recovery, she said.
The PM said most recent health advice now tells them that with the lowest cases and hospitalisations since February, their population well vaccinated, and expanded access to anti-viral medicines, New Zealand is in a position to move forward.
Testing not mandatory
Prime Minister Arden also confirmed that vaccination requirements for all travellers arriving into New Zealand, including air crew also ends, and the requirement to test on day 0/1 and 5/6 will now just be encouraged.
"Our 7-day isolation period for COVID cases will remain.
“However, the 7 day isolation period will now only be required for those who test positive for COVID-19. Their household contacts will only be asked to undertake a daily RAT test before going about their life as normal."
“In short, we now move on to a simple two requirements system of masks in healthcare settings and 7 days isolation for positive cases only, said the Prime Minisiter.
"There is no question, thousands of lives have been saved by the efforts of Kiwis. Be it iwi and Maori health providers, Pacifica organisations, aged care providers, businesses or the sacrifices of New Zealanders separated from loved ones, everyone played a part.
“So today, I say again to everyone, from the bottom of my heart, thank you."