What are the changes to New Zealand’s covid traffic light system?

With New Zealand set to reach the peak of its Omicron outbreak in the coming weeks, the Government is dialing back some the restrictions currently in place – particularly as many of these were developed to protect an unvaccinated population. The focus now is to make life simpler and closer to normal but retain the things that are most effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting people.

Changes to traffic light system

A new and highly simplified traffic light system was introduced on 25 March.  This change has been informed by public health advice, based on the latest evidence from here and overseas, and the advice of the Strategic COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group.

In our current red light setting, this has included increasing the indoor gathering limit to 200 and scrapping outdoor gathering limits entirely. The Government intends to continue moving down to Orange and then eventually green (essentially no restrictions at all), assuming it is safe to do so. At all levels, testing and isolation requirements remain.

The next review of the traffic light system is 4 April. You can find out more on changes to the traffic light system here

My Vaccine Pass

From 4 April, there is no longer a requirement to use My Vaccine Pass – which means Kiwis will no longer have to be vaccinated in order to enter businesses, venues and events covered by the Pass. Scanning in requirements for the vaccinated will also end.

Businesses can choose to continue to use the My Vaccine Pass system if they choose.

Vaccine mandates

From 4 April, vaccine mandates will be removed, except for health and disability, aged care, corrections and border workforces. Vaccine mandates remain in place for these sectors because workers in these areas have a high level of contact with people at risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19. For border workers, there is a high risk of exposure to new variants.

Businesses will be able to voluntarily introduce workforce vaccination requirements if appropriate to the workforce. You can find out more on these changes at the official COVID-19 website here.

People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19

For some people, the easing of restrictions can be stressful — especially if we have friends or whānau who are vulnerable. It is okay to feel scared or anxious as we adjust to the new settings. You can decide what additional measures suit you best by visiting the COVID-19 website here.

About Mason Head

Content Creator and Publication Lead at Eldernet

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