New Zealand on Wednesday announced to reduce the isolation period for COVID-19 infected persons and close contacts from 10 to seven days.
Announcing the decision, Chris Hipkins, the COVID-19 response minister, said the new changes will come into effect from Friday mid-night.
“We remain committed to reducing the spread of Omicron to protect our health system and each other. However high case numbers and household contacts, and the current 10-day isolation requirement, is having a wider impact on many parts of our lives,” Hipkins said.
“The most up to date public health advice is that there is a decline in infectiousness of Omicron over time, and that in most cases transmission occurs within seven days,” he added.
New Zealand reported 22,495 infections over the past 24 hours, bringing the total caseload to 286,750, according to the Health Ministry. A total of 65 people have died in the country since the start of the pandemic.
“Under the Red setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework there are additional public health measures in place that reduce the risk of onwards infection. These include limits on the sizes of gatherings, wearing face masks and physically distancing. I urge people to follow these guidelines to continue to protect our vulnerable friends,” Hipkins said.
So far, 94% of people aged 12 and above have been fully vaccinated in New Zealand, while 72% of people aged 18 and above have received their booster shots, according to the Health Ministry data.