This update (30 March) shares key information about the Government’s response to COVID-19

Key things to note:

  • New guidance to support businesses through upcoming changes to vaccine requirements.
  • New targeted rural service of rapid antigen tests (RATs).
  • The supply of RATs has been increased via Māori providers.
  • New Zealand Traveler Declaration is open to all travellers.

New guidance to support businesses through upcoming changes to vaccine requirements.

  • From 11:59 pm Monday, 4 April 2022 some government vaccine mandates for workers will be removed.
  • Those who will still be required to be vaccinated include health and disability sector workers, prison staff, border and MIQ workers.
  • New guidance has been published on www.worksafe.govt.nz and www.employment.govt.nz to help employers update their health and safety risk assessments, reflecting the changes that come into effect on 4 April.

Rapid Antigen Testing Update

  • More than 95 per cent of New Zealanders can access RATs within a 20-minute drive – but there are about 250,000 people who live in remote rural areas where access is more difficult. DHBs have initiatives underway to reach their rural communities. This new service aims to connect households to those local initiatives. If there is no existing initiative in a particular area, RATs will be delivered directly to people’s homes. Information about local services is available to people when they order a RAT online at www.requestrats.covid19.health.nz, or by phoning 0800 222 478.
  • A new brand of RAT has been approved for use in New Zealand – the BIOCREDIT COVID-19 Ag Home test – bringing the total of RATs approved for use in New Zealand to 12.
  • There are 31.5 million RATs in stock and a further 48.4 million confirmed for delivery over the next four weeks.
  • Māori providers of RATs have increased from 400 to 1000 in the past month. This has enabled Māori providers to distribute to tangata whaiora – disabled people – in their community who were unable to access RATs through other channels.
  • MoH is providing RATs to healthcare workforces and first responders and in settings such as at the border, prisons and youth justice facilities and Aged Residential Care facilities. This helps protect staff on-site as well as ensuring visitors can be tested. As was announced last week, RATs are being provided to symptomatic children, young people, and staff in schools and for reassurance testing in early learning centres.

New Zealand Traveller Declaration open to all travellers

  • From 11:59pm 31 March 2022, everyone travelling to New Zealand by air is required to complete and submit a New Zealand Traveller Declaration.
  • The New Zealand Traveller Declaration system requires travellers to upload their recent travel history and COVID-19 health-related information prior to their departure for New Zealand, which could include their vaccination status and pre-departure test. The new online system will assess travellers’ information before they start their journey and issue a Traveller Pass, which will let them know what they need to do to enter New Zealand – such as self-test on arrival.
  • The New Zealand Traveller Declaration replaces the current Ministry of Health declaration system, Nau Mai Rā. Declarations can be completed in Nau Mai Rā or the New Zealand Traveller Declaration until 31 March 2022. All traveller declarations after 31 March 2022 must be completed in the New Zealand Traveller Declaration system. More information is available at: www.travellerdeclaration.govt.nz