Tuesday, October 19, 2021

COVID self-isolation trial announced

COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, has announced a self-isolation pilot as the Government works to safely reopen travel borders.

“As part of the Reconnecting New Zealanders plan announced in August, the self-isolation pilot will look at self-isolation for vaccinated travellers who have not been to very high-risk countries,” Mr Hipkins said.   

“The pilot is to explore a new pathway of entry into New Zealand and allows the Government to test operational readiness, identify areas where further work is required to scale up the approach and provide valuable insights into our options for the future.”

Expressions of Interest are being called for up to 150 people to participate in the pilot.

The pilot is aimed at business travellers, to travel overseas on a short business trip and self-isolate in approved accommodation for 14 days on their return.

“Self-isolation must be in a private dwelling with no shared ventilation system. The dwelling must have cellular coverage. Monitoring and testing over the self-isolation period will be mandatory,” said Mr Hipkins.

“Participants are required to be a New Zealand citizen or holders of a resident visa with a right to re-enter New Zealand, be fully-vaccinated in New Zealand with the Pfizer vaccine, and not travel to or through very high-risk countries. Travel must be for business purposes which cannot be carried out from New Zealand.

“Participants will be selected through an Expressions of Interest (EOI) process.  Employers will need to apply on behalf of their employees and can submit their EOI from 9am, Thursday 30 September until 5pm, Saturday 9 October.

“Businesses are encouraged to check the criteria carefully. As demand is expected to be higher than the numbers in the pilot, all eligible EOIs will be put into a ballot and spread across the six-week arrival timeframe.

“Public safety and keeping COVID-19 out of the community still remains our top priority,” Mr Hipkins said.  

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