The isolation length for Covid-19 cases and household contacts will be decreased from 10 days to seven days. This will come into effect from 11:59 pm on Friday.
If someone is isolating at home and is still feeling symptomatic after seven days of isolation, they are advised to stay at home until 24 hours after they stop showing symptoms.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said “that is expected to be a very very small number of people”.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday at 1pm, Hipkins said the change in the isolation period reflects a large number of people isolating which is having a wider impact on many parts of New Zealanders' lives.
"There needs to be a balance between effectively controlling the outbreak and the flow-on effect for business and essential goods and services such as transport and food supply,” he said.
Hipkins urged people to report their Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) results to their My Health Account, even if the test is negative so that they can continue to understand transmission within households and how the outbreak is spreading throughout the community.
Household contacts will need to have a rapid antigen test at day 3 and day 7 of their isolation period. If they become symptomatic they should also get a test, and if the result is positive, they are required to isolate for seven days from that point.
Overseas data has shown the risk of reinfection with Omicron in the first three months is very low, Hipkins said.
“So if someone else tests positive in the three months after you have been a positive Covid-19 case, you won’t have to go through the process of isolating again.”
At the moment that clear period is 28 days and it is now being extended to three months.
Hipkins also confirmed 250,000 Novavax vaccines have arrived in the country.
New Zealanders can book this vaccine over the phone or via Book My Vaccine from tomorrow.
“While Pfizer remains the preferred Covid-19 vaccine in New Zealand, Novavax is now available for those who would prefer or require an alternative,” Hipkins said.
It is available to people aged 18 or over. It is a two-dose course with three weeks in between them. It has not yet been approved to have a booster dose.
Not all vaccination sites will be offering Novavax.
Top image: Person isolating at home. (File photo) Photo: iStock