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HFNZ Covid 19 update: 13 September 2022

Unite against Covid 19The COVID-19 Protection Framework, also known as the traffic light system, has been removed as of 11:59pm, Monday 12 September. The Government says that today marks a major milestone in New Zealand's journey with COVID-19. Their decision, based on public health advice, means everyone in New Zealand can approach the coming summer with clarity around what is required.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 927 days ago, protecting lives and livelihoods has been the Government's key objective. This objective remains unchanged. But with cases and hospitalisations low, improved access to new medicines, and high vaccination rates, they believe it is now safe to move on from the traffic light system. New Zealand's COVID-19 response is not going away, but is instead shifting focus to just a couple of requirements to manage the spread of the virus. 

Key points

  • The COVID-19 Protection Framework ends at 11:59pm Monday 12 September.
  • All mask-wearing requirements removed, except in healthcare and aged care facilities.
  • Only people who test positive with COVID-19 need to isolate for 7 days. Household Contacts no longer need to.
  • All Government vaccine mandates will end in 2 weeks on 26 September.
  • Removal of all vaccination requirements for incoming travellers and aircrew.
  • Support for business and workers to continue through leave support payments.
  • All New Zealanders aged 65 and over, and Māori and Pacific peoples aged 50 and over, to have automatic access to COVID antivirals if they test positive

The availability of free anti-viral medicines to everyone aged 65+ and Māori and Pacific peoples 50+ who need them, free boosters, free medical grade masks and ongoing isolation requirements for positive cases will help protect at-risk people and communities from the virus. 

Masks have played a critical role in managing the spread of Omicron, but now with our low case numbers, fewer gains are likely to be made through mandatory mask wearing, except in certain healthcare facilities. 

Workplaces, special events and marae may continue to require people to wear masks as a condition of entry, but this will no longer be a Government requirement. People are encouraged to respect those who continue to keep wearing masks for the protection they offer against COVID-19. HFNZ will be following Government advice at our events. Of course, members are encouraged to continue wearing a mask if it makes them feel safe.

The Government's vaccination requirements for all travellers arriving at the border, including air crew, also ended at 11:59pm yesterday. People arriving in New Zealand from overseas will continue to receive free RATs at the airport and will be encouraged to test on day 0/1 and 5/6. 

All remaining Government vaccine mandates will be lifted. The only mandate left is for health and disability workers. With high vaccination rates now coupled with high numbers of people having had the virus itself, it’s now safe for them to end. This mandate will end at 11:59pm, 26 September 2022.

COVID-19 has taken a toll on everyone, particularly on people’s mental health. There has been significant innovation in effective and evidence-based digital mental health tools. People can access more information about these tools at www.covid19.govt.nz/mentalhealth