New Zealand to apply three phase public health response to Omicron

18:00 | 26.01.2022
The authorities in New Zealand have announced a three phase Omicron plan that aims to slow down and limit the spread of an outbreak, Associate Minister of Health, Dr Ayesha Verrall said, reported from foreign media.

According to her, phase one is taking a ‘stamp it out’ approach. Broadly speaking, that includes the same contact tracing, isolation, and request that everyone who is symptomatic be tested at a community testing station or at a primary health provider.

"If you are required to isolate, you will receive advice and – if needed – support to do so; at this phase you will need to isolate for 14 days if you are a case, and 10 days if you are contact," she said.

Phase two is aimed to slow the spread and protect our vulnerable communities. "In Phase Two, we will reduce the isolation period for cases to 10 days and contacts to seven days in line with best practice overseas," she said adding that rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be integrated into the country's testing system at this phase and will work alongside PCR tests.

At Phase Three, when cases are in the thousands, New Zealand will make further changes to contact tracing. 

"The definition of contacts will change to household and household like contacts only. This will mean the highest risk contacts will need to isolate," Verrall said.

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