Monday, January 30, 2023

New Zealand protesters demand end of quarantine and vaccination against COVID-19

Thousands gathered on Tuesday outside New Zealand’s parliament in the capital Wellington to protest government regulations for the COVID-19 vaccine and restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 protesters marched through downtown Wellington holding signs with various anti-credentials slogans and dozens of former US President Donald Trump’s campaign flags waving. During the demonstrations, security officials closed almost all the entrances to the parliament building and its iconic Beehive building.

Prime Minister Hasinda Ardern told reporters in parliament: “What we saw today is not representative of the vast majority of New Zealanders.”

The country, with a population of 5 million, has been one of the best in the world at containing the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, largely because New Zealand has closed its borders for most of the past 18 months to non-residents.

For the most part, the strategy to eliminate COVID-19 has worked, with the country reporting only 28 deaths during the pandemic. Much of the country was almost back to normal earlier this year.

But New Zealand has been grappling with a rise in new infections from the delta variant since August, prompting Ardern to impose new restrictions in Auckland, its largest city, and elsewhere in the country. The new outbreaks have also forced Ardern to move from a strategy to eradicate COVID-19 to fighting the virus with mass vaccinations.

The government has announced a new target: all doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare professionals must be fully vaccinated by December, and teachers and other education workers must be fully vaccinated by January.

In addition, the government has introduced a new traffic light system that will remove almost all restrictions after 90% of the region’s population is fully vaccinated.

Ardern announced Monday that lockdown imposed in Oakland will be lifted by the end of November, and some restrictions will begin to ease on Tuesday as the city approaches 90% vaccinations.

England’s mandate

On Tuesday, England announced the introduction of a vaccine for the country’s National Health Service. Health Minister Sajid Javid said all NHS employees must be vaccinated by April 1 or they face dismissal.

The government previously announced that homecare workers should be fully vaccinated by November 11, but has waited to extend the mandate to all immediate NHS staff until it reviews the results of consultations with healthcare providers.

Of the 34,000 workers’ responses, “the scales are clearly tipping to the side,” Javid said.

“The weight of the data shows that our vaccinations have made people safe and saved lives, and this is especially true for vulnerable people in healthcare and care settings,” he added.

France, Italy and some US states have also ordered medical workers to be vaccinated.

US aid to states

In the U.S., White House COVID-19 Coordinator Jeff Zientes told U.S. Governors during a conference call on Tuesday that President Joe Biden is extending the federal government’s full reimbursement program to states, tribes and territories for their COVID-related emergency until April 1, 2022. 19. response costs, as reported by The Associated Press.

The expansion will help the Federal Emergency Management Agency continue to support vaccination clinics, vaccination education campaigns and other efforts to combat the pandemic.

The compensation extension, which also extends to National Guard personnel deployed to contain the virus, is a sign that claims of defeating the pandemic in July were premature and that the Biden administration is preparing for ongoing COVID-19 disruptions in the future. year, reports the Associated Press.

Splash in Singapore

Meanwhile, Singapore authorities announced on Monday that they will no longer pay medical bills for future COVID-19 patients who “have not been vaccinated of their own choosing,” as of 8 December.

The city-state now fully covers the medical costs of any Singaporean who tests positive for the virus, as well as permanent residents and long-term visa holders, unless they test positive shortly after returning home from abroad.

But Singapore is currently grappling with a spike in new infections that threaten to overwhelm its health care system, despite the fact that 85% of its eligible population has been fully vaccinated.

The health ministry said it will continue to cover partially vaccinated patients until December 31 to give them time to get their second shots.

Some of the information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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