COVID-19 Response Update – 15 March 2022

 This update shares key information about the Government’s response to COVID-19. It is intended to provide consistent information across central government, local government, CDEM and our key partners. You are welcome to share this update with others.

 Key things to note:

  • Testing continues to play an important part of the response to COVID-19 and it is essential people continue to register their positive or negative RAT results. 
  • Long COVID is considered as experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 after 12 weeks of infection.
  • Travellers coming in from overseas must complete the Nau Mai Rā traveller declaration form.
  • Change in testing requirements for specific flights from Vanuatu.
  • There are currently 960 people in hospitals across New Zealand, with 22 cases in high dependency or intensive care units. There are two additional deaths of people with COVID-19.

 Rapid Antigen Testing Update

  • Testing continues to play an important part of the response to COVID-19. 
  • If someone tests positive for COVID-19, they are required to isolate for 7 days. If they still have symptoms after 7 days, stay home until feeling better and then wait an additional 24 hours.
  • Household contacts should also stay at home, have tests at day 3 and 7 or earlier if they develop symptoms. 
  • It is essential people continue to register their positive or negative RAT results. Test results give public health officials an overview of case numbers in particular areas of New Zealand.  
  • Test results are also important if people’s condition worsens and they require additional healthcare.  
  • How to report your RAT results | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz) 

Long COVID

  • Long COVID is considered as experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 after 12 weeks of infection. It is estimated 1 in 10 people feel symptoms of long COVID 12 weeks after infection.
  • Symptoms of long COVID may include; low energy and fatigue, shortness of breath and cough, headaches, low mood, difficulty concentrating (brain fog), ongoing chest paints, racing pulse, aches and pains in muscles, ongoing changes to sense of smell and taste, and poor quality of sleep. 
  • The key thing to do if suffering from these symptoms is to chat to a doctor. 
  • There is ongoing research internationally on the effects of long COVID. Researchers are also looking at ways of treating long COVID. The Ministry of Health will provide further advice based on international evidence and are funding a study by Victoria University of Wellington to assess the long-term effects of COVID on people in New Zealand. 8000 people have been invited to take part in this study. 

 Change in Testing Requirements for Specific Flights From Vanuatu

  • Passengers from specific Vanuatu flights are required to do a Day 0/1 and a Day 5/6 RAT test on arrival in New Zealand. Aircrew are exempt from these requirements. 
  • This is because of a public health risk assessment that was undertaken on the current outbreak of COVID-19 in Vanuatu.
  • This testing requirement applies to the following flights:
    • 20 March            NF956   Christchurch
    • 24 March            NF950   Auckland
    • 26 March            NF850   Auckland
    • 28 March            NF956   Christchurch
    • 31 March            NF950   Auckland
  • For passengers on these flights, the requirements for quarantine free travel to New Zealand prior to boarding remain the same.

 Reconnecting New Zealand to the World Update

  • All travellers must complete the traveller declaration Nau Mai Rā (covid19.govt.nz) before travelling to New Zealand, unless they are entering managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ).  
  • Travellers will be asked to provide evidence they have completed the declaration when they check-in at the airport and by Customs when they arrive in New Zealand.  
  • Travellers who need a My Vaccine Pass and have had had their COVID-19 vaccination overseas, can apply to the Ministry of Health using the overseas vaccine submission form Overseas vaccine submission | Ministry of Health (covid19.health.nz).  
  • Not all COVID-19 vaccines will make you eligible for a My Vaccine Pass. There may be additional vaccination requirements. 
  • It may take two weeks to process My Vaccine Pass for people vaccinated outside New Zealand. If travellers have been vaccinated with one of the approved vaccines, it is a good idea to begin the process before they depart for New Zealand.