Vaccination, Isolation And Masks Remain Key To Public Safety This Winter – NZ Government


Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall

Minister of Health

Being up to date with vaccinations, staying home if unwell and wearing masks in healthcare settings remains key to minimising the impact of COVID-19 and reducing pressure on our health system over winter, Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said today.

Cabinet has agreed to retain mandatory measures for cases to isolate for 7 days and retain the mandatory use of masks for visitors to health care settings.

However Cabinet has asked for more work to be done on whether testing to return to work earlier than the 7 days for people who are not symptomatic or are mild cases could be a safe and effective model to reduce the impact on workforce this winter.

“We know isolation for COVID-19 cases is the best way to break the chain of transmission to make sure people aren’t passing on the virus and getting other people sick,” Minister Verrall said.

“Isolation remains effective in managing spread and keeping case numbers down, and it also helps reduce pressure on our hospital services.

“But we need to make sure our settings are right, and look at examples of what is working around the world. A test to return to work rule for lower risk or mild or asymptomatic cases could help reduce the strain on some workforces this winter.

“Cabinet will consider advice on this within the next two months.

“Wearing face masks in healthcare settings remain an important tool to reduce your own risk and also the risk for others, especially those more vulnerable or susceptible to the virus. These settings will remain for now.

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“I also urge those eligible for the new COVID-19 bivalent vaccine to get themselves vaccinated, and boosted when eligible,” Minister Verrall said.

Cabinet has agreed today to remove the legal framework around the Point of Care Tests Order, which regulates the importation, manufacture, sale and use of tests such as rapid antigen tests (RATs).

This Order was originally enacted under the elimination strategy when there was no access to approved self-tests and is no longer necessary.


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