Covid-19: Travelling from Aussie? Your self-isolation time just got cut back to 7 days
Fully vaccinated Kiwis returning from Australia in late February can expect to spend just seven days in self-isolation under phase 2 of New Zealand’s Omicron response.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the shift in phases on Monday, with it taking effect at 11.59pm February 15.
In phase 2, the self-isolation period for positive cases in New Zealand shortens from 14 days to 10 days. The isolation period for close contacts will move from 10 days to 7 days – this will apply to everyone, including those in MIQ.
Kiwis travelling from Australia will also have a self-isolation period of 7 days from February 28, Ardern confirmed at Monday’s press conference.
* Covid-19 NZ: What ‘phase 2’ of Omicron response will mean for isolation times, testing
* Covid-19 NZ: Jacinda Ardern moves New Zealand into phase 2 of Omicron response, shrinking isolation period
* New Zealand border reopening: Your questions answered
* Covid-19 NZ: How New Zealand’s five-step border reopening will work
* The end of MIQ: How self-isolation for travellers will work
From February 28, fully vaccinated New Zealanders will be able to self-isolate rather than spend time in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) when they arrive in the country.
However, unvaccinated travellers, and those with vaccine exemptions or medical certificates, will still need to enter MIQ. Over time, MIQ is expected to slowly be transformed into a new National Quarantine Service.
Vaccinated travellers, and unvaccinated kids under 17 who are travelling with vaccinated parents or guardians, were previously expected to self-isolate for 10 days, however, under phase 2 that shortens to 7 days.
Partners, dependent children and parents of dependent children in Australia can also bypass MIQ from February 28 if they hold a visa based on their relationship to a New Zealand citizen or resident, are travelling with a New Zealander, or live in New Zealand.
If they don’t meet these criteria, they will need to wait until as late as July. New Zealand’s borders are set to open to all travellers from Australia by July 31 at the latest, but Ardern has previously said there is a high chance this could happen earlier.
Eligible travellers will be required to have spent the previous 14 days in Australia and meet other health requirements prior to travel (such as provide a negative pre-departure test).
Travellers will have to meet other health requirements throughout their isolation periods, including using rapid antigen tests (RATs). All arrivals will be provided with three RATs at the airport – one for use upon on day zero/one of self-isolation and another for day five/six. The third is a back-up test.
Travellers who test positive during self-isolation will be required to take a PCR test at a community testing centre or GP. They will then be able to continue self-isolation, but following the guidance for Covid-19 cases.
Throughout the year, New Zealand’s border will gradually reopen. From March 14, fully vaccinated New Zealanders, skilled workers and others who meet the eligibility criteria, can enter the country from anywhere in the world and self-isolate on arrival.
From April 13, temporary work and student visa holders from anywhere in the world can enter Aotearoa and self-isolate on arrival.
From July, all fully vaccinated travellers from Australia, and other eligible travellers, such as those arriving under the Accredited Employer Work Visa categories, can self-isolate on arrival.
All visa categories will reopen from October 2022, including visitor and student visas.
Stuff’s Whole Truth project has published over 50 articles examining misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine. These are the most common themes. (English subtitles.)