New Zealand, meanwhile, has been back to normal for several months now: restaurants, sporting events, no masking, everything that defined pre-COVID life except for unrestricted incoming travel from other countries.
From an article published last December:
In New Zealand, people are going to malls without masks and sharing popcorn with friends in movie theaters. In Australia, they are watching live theater and sports and seeing bands perform at packed concerts. Thai people in Bangkok are drinking inside busy bars and dancing, while in Taipei, the Taiwanese capital, more than 130,000 gathered for one of the only Pride parades to take place in person this year.
“Pride was huge. There was a ton of people out,” said Perry Truong, a 25-year-old English tutor who moved last year from the US, where there are currently almost 200,000 new COVID-19 cases each day, to Taiwan, where there hasn’t been a new locally transmitted case of the coronavirus in more than 200 days. “It’s really not in my mind at all,” Truong said. “I don’t feel anxious about catching the virus. I don’t feel scared about not wearing a mask to public places. For lack of a better word, it’s really normal.”
“It feels weird,” he added, “because I feel like when people talk about this in 10 years, they’ll be like, ‘Remember the pandemic?’ and I’ll be like, ‘There was a pandemic?’”