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 the Government’s key partners. 

Key things to note:
• From 11:59pm, Wednesday 2 March all self-isolation requirements for vaccinated travellers entering New Zealand will be lifted.
• Step 2 of Reconnecting NZ brought forward. Cabinet to review the timings of the remaining steps in the coming weeks. MIQ to remain in place for now.
• 10.8 million Rapid Antigen Tests have arrived in the country since Friday.
• Disproportionate number of unvaccinated cases requiring hospital care as COVID-19 cases increase.
• The Ministry of Health remains concerned about the spread of COVID-19 at the protest at Parliament.
• Health update – Hospitalisations, cases and testing.
• Yesterday 13,707 booster doses were administered in New Zealand.
• 95% of eligible people in New Zealand have had two vaccine doses.
• 1,175 paediatric first doses and 150 paediatric second doses were administered yesterday.

Reconnecting New Zealand to the World
• From 11:59pm, Wednesday 2 March all self-isolation requirements for vaccinated travellers entering New Zealand will be lifted.
• Cabinet has agreed that from 11.59pm Wednesday 2 March vaccinated travellers from Australia entering New Zealand will no longer need to self-isolate for seven days.
• Every traveller will still be required to undertake a rapid antigen tests on arrival and on Day 5/6.
• All positive RATs must be registered and followed up with a PCR test. As our border will be the first place to see any new variants, we need to keep up whole genome sequencing to monitor for any new variants of the virus entering the country.
• This is different to the requirements for those currently in the community who test positive with a RAT, who don’t need a PCR follow up.
• All incoming travellers will still be required to undertake a pre-departure test before they get on a plane.
• New Zealanders and eligible critical workers from the rest of the world in Step 2 will now be able to arrive from 11.59pm Friday March 4 and will not need to self-isolate.
• Due to immigration processes, other non-New Zealanders who are part of Step 2, such as working holiday visa holders and RSE workers, will be eligible to arrive from 13 March as previously announced, but will not have to isolate.
• Cabinet will review the timings of the remaining steps in the coming weeks. These steps include other visa holders in April, Australians and visitors from visa waiver countries by July, and all others from October.
• MIQ is remaining in place for all unvaccinated travellers. Advice is being sought on whether this requirement needs to remain in the longer term.
• While New Zealand continues to face a global pandemic, MIQ remains a useful tool to have available, even if it is not used at the scale in the past.

Rapid Antigen Test supply update
• 10.8 million Rapid Antigen Tests have arrived in the country since Friday.
• These new RATs will flow through the supply chain and into Community Testing Centres, GPs, pharmacies and businesses where they can be accessed by anyone who needs one.
• The wide-ranging and disruptive impact of COVID-19 on the domestic freight and courier networks has had an impact on distribution and delivery times for RATs in some areas. Work is underway to ensure there is supply in all communities, including those in remote areas.
• From today, the Ministry of Health will report the number of RATs dispatched from its central warehouse, instead of the overall volume (as previously reported), in the daily COVID-19 media statement.

Hospitalisations update
• A disproportionate number of unvaccinated cases are requiring hospital care as COVID-19 cases increase.
• Only 3% of eligible people aged 12 and over in New Zealand have had no doses of the vaccine. However, of the eligible people in Northland and Auckland hospitals with COVID-19, 12% have had no doses of the vaccine.
• Based on the data available, the figures show that unvaccinated people are four times over-represented in the current hospitalisation rates.

COVID-19 among protestors update
• The Ministry of Health remains concerned about the spread of COVID-19 at the protest at Parliament.
• There are now 17 people identified as having tested positive who were at the protest. Due to reluctance by protestors to get a COVID-19 test, the true number of cases linked to the protest is likely to be much higher.
• All those currently at the protest, or who have been at the protest, who are displaying cold and flu symptoms, are advised to get a test and isolate until they receive their result.

Health update – Cases and testing
• There are currently 344 people in hospitals across New Zealand.
• 5 cases are in high dependency or intensive care units.
• There are 14,633 new cases in the community (8,398 identified through PCR, 10,811 via RAT), and 24 new cases identified at the border.
• 22,742 PCR tests processed nationwide in the last 24 hours.

Booster Programme and Vaccination Update
• Yesterday 13,707 booster doses were administered in New Zealand.
• The total number of people who have received boosters – including those vaccinated overseas – is 2,349,368 (70.3% of those eligible)
• Getting a booster dose provides a high level of protection against Omicron. With Omicron spreading quickly, every remaining eligible person is encouraged to get boosted as soon as possible.
• 95% of eligible people in New Zealand have had two vaccine doses.
• 1,175 paediatric first doses and 150 paediatric second doses were administered yesterday.
• Vaccines administered in New Zealand yesterday: 176 first doses; 423 second doses; 136 third primary doses; 1,175 paediatric first doses and 150 paediatric second doses.
• Vaccines administered in New Zealand to date: 4,019,345 first doses; 3,959,359 second doses; 33,421 third primary doses; 2,347,710 booster doses: 240,354 paediatric first doses and 3,269 paediatric second doses.

Information in other languages and alternate formats
• You can find a wide variety of COVID-19 information in 27 languages and 4 alternate formats on the Unite Against COVID-19 website. Key information includes:
• Reconnecting New Zealanders to the World
• RATs Guide handout
• COVID-19 Our Isolation Plan
• Getting your booster dose
• Protecting your tamariki from COVID-19
• Wearing a face mask
• Testing
• Support for if you get COVID-19
• Support for individuals and families
• We will continue to update our translated information as the situation develops.