Physios say traffic light system 'very confusing'

Source: 1News

While Kiwis throughout the country are celebrating new freedoms with the traffic light system coming into effect on Friday, there's confusion among some physio and health providers about how to operate.

Physios have to get up close and personal for their work - and as health professionals they have to treat unvaccinated patients.

But thanks to conflicting advice they're not sure if they can ask patients if they're vaccinated, and therefore don't know when they should be taking extra Covid-19 precautions.

"Very confusing from a health point of view," physiotherapist Atif Razvi told 1News.

"We've got families and kids that are not vaccinated, we've got physios that are pregnant or immunocompromised."

The Government insists the new rules are easy to follow, though.

"I wouldn't say it is complex, actually I think it is a relatively simple system," Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said.

But Razvi said the rules were particularly unclear for physios who work in gyms, which require a vaccine pass for Red and Orange levels of the Covid-19 Protection Framework, also known as the traffic light system.

There is also concern about the rules for councils as many across the country, including Dunedin City Council, are now requiring a vaccine pass to use facilities like pools, museums and libraries.

Some may be required to create a separate walkway that doesn't share airflow with the gym area.

"I think if you're talking about airflow and having to create partitions it almost makes a mockery of the whole system," Razvi said.

Others in Dunedin told 1News it was "shortsighted" to bar people who pay rates from accessing council facilities and that choice has been taken away from them.

Meanwhile, other councils, including Upper Hutt City Council, has ruled against vaccine mandates at its public facilities.

The decision is out of step with the rest of the Wellington region, with Lower Hutt and Porirua mayors saying they were shocked.

"I'm really disappointed that Upper Hutt haven't followed, I'd like them to reconsider because otherwise they're going to get all the antivaxxers from Porirua swimming in their pool and going to their library so it's not very helpful," Porirua mayor Anita Baker told 1News.

"It's not a nice feeling for people to have to think that they're being excluded from something, however we have in these kinds of facilities, already many rules, that are designed to protect public safety," Otago University ethicist Dr Elizabeth Fenton added.