End of the Traffic Light System – but no immediate change to Nelson Marlborough district hospital requirements
Yesterday the Prime Minister announced some important changes to the COVID-19 protection framework that see the country move into a new phase of our response.
At 11.59 pm on 12 September 2022, the COVID-19 Protection Framework, A.K.A the ‘traffic light system’ ended, along with changes to several other COVID-19 public health measures.
At the moment there will be no immediate change to our hospital and healthcare requirements for the COVID-19 response for either patients or visitors.
The new Government requirements are more relaxed for most of the community; however, health care settings are able to set their own requirements based on risk. Health care settings are unique as people who are unwell come together with people who are most vulnerable to infections. For that reason, our expert advisory groups are reviewing our settings. While they do that, our current settings remain in place.
This includes all current infection prevention, PPE, mask-wearing, good ventilation and social distancing requirements for staff and the public.
Nationally, the COVID-19 response will remain active and operating in the background, with fewer restrictions on individuals. This will mean that:
Only people who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for seven days. Household contacts are recommended to take a RAT test every day for five days. So long as they test negative, they will be able to go about daily life as normal.
All mask requirements will be removed, except for visitors in certain healthcare settings including primary care, urgent care, hospitals, aged residential care, disability-related residential care and pharmacies but not in counselling, mental health and addiction services. Further specific information on this will be provided in the coming days.
Some places, such as workplaces, special events, or marae may ask people to wear a mask as a condition of entry. This will be at their discretion and no longer a Government requirement. People are encouraged to respect those who continue to keep wearing masks for the protection they offer against COVID-19.
All remaining Government vaccine mandates will end. The last workforce with a Government vaccine mandate is health and disability workers. This will end on 11:59pm, 26 September 2022. Some employers may still require workers to be vaccinated due to their responsibilities under health and safety legislation.
Vaccination and testing requirements for all travellers arriving into New Zealand will also end, including air crew, from 11:59pm, 12 September. People arriving in New Zealand from overseas will continue to receive free RATs at the airport and will be encouraged to test on day 0/1 and 5/6.
Anti-viral medicines will be available for free to any New Zealander 65 and over who tests positive for COVID-19. For Māori and Pacific peoples, these medicines will be available for free to anyone aged 50 and over. In addition, anyone with three high-risk conditions is eligible for free anti-viral medicines.
40,000 additional courses of anti-viral medicines have been purchased by the Government and they are expected to enter New Zealand in the coming weeks.
Over the next few days, we will be updating our website policies and advice to reflect these new changes and what they mean for the public visiting healthcare facilities.