Jacinda Ardern lifts New Zealand’s last Covid restrictions and says ‘time to take back control of our lives’

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has removed almost all of the country’s last remaining Covid-19 restrictions, calling for a return to normalcy for the first time in two years since the pandemic began.

From midnight on Monday, people will no longer be required to wear face masks in public places, although there will be a few exceptions including healthcare settings like hospitals and care homes, Ms Ardern told a news conference in Wellington.