15 Feb 2022

Covid Response Minister on new traveller self isolation scheme

From Checkpoint, 5:12 pm on 15 February 2022

Under new government rules some returnees can get a temporary pass out of self isolation to visit a terminally ill relative, go to court or get medical attention.

And sports teams or performers who get special approval, can train or rehearse outside of self isolation.

From 28 February the first wave of returnees can by pass MIQ for self isolation.

Travellers will now have a choice of three different pre-flight Covid tests. Vaccination requirements apply to anyone 17 years and older.

Returnees must travel directly to their accommodation - but no shared facilities like backpackers or hostels are allowed.

And they'll have to complete two rapid antigen tests during seven full days of isolation.

Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Checkpoint the systems have been established for self-isolating returnees to submit their rapid antigen test results. 

"There will be an ability for people to upload them online. But we also have to recognise that not everyone's going to be able to do that, so there'll be systems available for those who aren't digitally connected."

Hipkins said government has not made a decision on the definition of 'fully vaccinated'. He said the priority is to get all eligible people to get their booster doses.

"The vaccine passes issued last year, they ultimately expire in June. So we'll make decisions in plenty of time.... We're not going to cancel the passes that are already out there. If we do need passes beyond June, and if we decide that booster requirements are needed for people to renew their passes, then we'll give people plenty of notice of that. 

"If we do still need to have vaccine passes beyond the expiry of the current one, it's likely that a booster requirement would be needed. Whether we still need them or not, your crystal ball is as good as mine on that."