Bishops celebrate end of Covid restrictions

New Zealand’s Catholic bishops are delighted Covid restrictions are easing.

The Government announced on Wednesday a 200-person limit for those with a vaccine pass at a religious gathering such as Mass, says a statement from the bishop’s conference.

“It is really welcome that these restrictions are being eased in the middle of Lent and with Easter just over three weeks away,” the statement says.

Bishop Stephen Lowe says while the bishops supported vaccine passes and similar restrictions when they were introduced last November, their support was based on the pandemic emergency as it was at the time.

He warns that loosening the restrictions doesn’t mean this is “life as normal. We know that the virus will continue to have an impact on the way we celebrate in our churches for a while yet,” he says.

People gathering inside at a church setting will still need to remain cautious and we will need to avoid certain ways of celebrating rituals that might make it easier for infections to spread, says Lowe.

Managing your own safety

Responding to the restriction easing, Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker advises people to reconsider now Covid restrictions are beginning to ease.

“If you don’t have underlying illnesses and you’re not particularly elderly, you can still go out and enjoy life – just try and do it safely.”

That means wearing the right kind of mask in the right setting. He recommends wearing a respirator mask like the N95.

Elderly or immuno-compromised people – even those who are vaccinated – have fewer choices, he says.

“The only thing you can do in that situation is to actually reduce your contacts quite significantly.”

It is a point reinforced by the chair of the government’s Strategic Covid-19 Public Health Advisory Group, Professor Sir David Skegg.

Skegg told the NZ Herald that for this and subsequent outbreaks, people are being asked to consider their own behaviour and appetite for risk.

In Australia, with Covid-19 cases soaring, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is spending up large, tipping in almost A$2bn to clinch a deal with Moderna to produce 100 million mRNA jabs under a 10-year plan to pandemic-proof the nation.

With 62,000 new infections on Wednesday, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation met to finalise approval for a fourth jab ahead of winter.


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News category: New Zealand.

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