New Zealand's COVID-19 managed isolation days for overseas arrivals halved to 7

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 28, 2021
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WELLINGTON, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government is starting a phased easing of border restrictions that will see the time spent in a managed isolation and quarantine facility (MIQ) halved for fully vaccinated overseas arrivals from Nov. 14 and home isolation introduced in the first quarter of 2022 at the latest.

The time overseas arrivals spend in MIQ facilities will be halved from 14 days to seven days followed by home isolation until they return a negative day 9 test, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told a press conference on Thursday.

The vast majority of border cases have returned positive results within the first seven days, Hipkins said.

Over 183,000 New Zealanders have returned home through MIQ since border restrictions were put in place last year, stopping cases at the border for the last 18 months, Hipkins said.

"When MIQ was introduced, we didn't have the vaccine so every arrival posed a high level of risk. With most people returning now fully vaccinated the risk profile of international arrivals has changed so it is time to start changing our MIQ settings," he said.

Last week, New Zealand announced a pathway forward out of lockdowns with the new traffic light COVID-19 Protection Framework that will see an easing of restrictions once the country is 90 percent vaccinated. Thursday's easing of MIQ requirements is part of the country's broader plan to re-open New Zealand safely and reconnect with the world, he added.

From Nov. 14, arrivals will be tested on day 0/1, day 3, and day 6/7 testing, followed by a short period of self-isolation at home which is around three days, the minister said.

A rapid antigen test and health checks will be carried out on day 7 before a person leaves MIQ, and people will get a viral test on day 9 of their home isolation and stay at home until the result comes back, he said.

This evolution of MIQ will initially free up more than 1,500 rooms a month to support the current Auckland community outbreak and to be released for more overseas returnees.

Meanwhile, New Zealand is also expanding one-way quarantine free travel from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu to include travelers from those countries and Tokelau who have the right to reside permanently in New Zealand and people covered by border exceptions, from Nov. 8, Hipkins said.

Pacific travelers must be fully vaccinated, unless they are New Zealand citizens. Recognized Seasonal Employer workers are currently required to have at least one dose, and will be required to be fully vaccinated from Jan. 1, 2022. Enditem

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