16 Dec 2021

What to do if you catch Covid-19 on holiday

7:07 pm on 16 December 2021

Counties Manukau DHB chief executive Margie Apa, who is also the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre lead, details how the health system plans to cope with the holidays and Covid-19 cases.

Beach bag with beach items and medical protective mask on beige background. Coronavirus summer concept

Photo: 123rf

"We all think about what we're going to wear and what we're going to eat ... so packing things that are going to be helpful to you, I'd include masks, hand sanitisers," Apa said.

For people on medication, she told Checkpoint it would be helpful to have prescriptions on hand to avoid getting caught out.

But if anyone found themselves to have caught Covid-19 on holiday, she said: "Isolate yourself quickly, and call Healthline.

"It's important to stay put and get a test because the test will tell you, particularly if it comes back positive, what you need to do next to ensure that the people that you are with are isolating with you or are part of your contact network."

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Counties Manukau DHB chief executive Margie Apa. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Apa said the advice was that if a person had to take a flight to return, it would not be recommended that they get on a plane.

However, if it was a drive away from home, the Ministry of Health had said that it would be okay if done safely, she said.

"If you are well enough or you have someone with you ideally who's already a contact to drive you home, that is really important.

"But if you're further away and not within practical driving distance, simply staying put is important."

Over the holidays, Apa said Healthline would be staffed to help people needing advice, and the national contact tracing system would also be staffed to respond to positive cases and chase contacts.

"We will be running the normal process of ringing people to let them know they are positive."

Siouxsie Wiles

Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

However, microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles said people should consider a Christmas "staycation" this summer, as New Zealand records it's first case of the Omicron variant.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed a person with the variant tested positive in a Christchurch MIQ facility.

  • The Omicron Covid-19 variant: What you need to know
  • Wiles told The Panel people should stay local this Christmas, if they could.

    She said the case now called into question whether other people on the plane with the case were also infected.

    Wiles said health authorities now needed to reconsider whether to shorten the window for booster jabs to less than six months.

    Bloomfield has said he would be discussing with ministers about reducing the time between the second dose and the vaccine booster shot.

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