Isolation period for COVID-19 cases and their household contacts will be reduced

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Mar 09, 2022 |

The isolation period for COVID-19 cases and their household contacts will be reduced from 10 to seven days, Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins announced today.

 He said “high case numbers and household contacts, and the current 10 day isolation requirement, is having a wider impact on many parts of our lives”

“There needs to be a balance between effectively controlling the outbreak and the flow-on effect for business and essential goods and services such as transport and food supply.”

“The most up to date public health advice is that there is a decline in infectiousness of Omicron over time, and that in most cases transmission occurs within seven days.”

“Our primary objective is to stop the chain of transmission as much as possible to manage the spread of Omicron. Seven days isolation will break the vast majority of potential transmissions, while ensuring people can get back to work quicker and therefore reducing the impact on business operations.” 

The change will come into effect from 11:59pm Friday 11 March. 

 Household contacts will need to have a rapid antigen test at day 3 and day 7 of their isolation period. If they become symptomatic they should also get a test, and if the result is positive, they are required to isolate for seven days from that point. 

 If a person is isolating and still has symptoms after seven days, they are advised to stay home until 24 hours after symptoms resolve. 

The reduction in the isolation period follows similar changes overseas and increasing evidence that people are most likely to transmit the virus earlier in their infectious period.

This evidence also shows that the risk of reinfection within the first three months after someone has Omicron is very low.

For this reason, recovered cases will no longer need to self-isolate if they become a household contact within 90 days after having the virus.

This is an increase from the current 28 days.

Novavax available to book from tomorrow

“New Zealanders awaiting the arrival of Novavax to get vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to make an appointment online or by phone from tomorrow,” Chris Hipkins said. 

“A shipment of more than 250,000 Novavax COVID-19 vaccines (Nuvaxovid) has arrived in New Zealand and preparations are well advanced for some vaccination centres to be able to offer it next week.”

 “Novavax will be available for people aged over 18. It requires two doses, with a three week gap. It has not been approved as a booster dose.”

 “While the Pfizer vaccine remains the preferred COVID-19 vaccine in New Zealand, Novavax is now available for those people who would prefer, or require, an alternative”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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