NZ to stay at Orange, Covid reinfection rules change

A recent surge in Covid cases will see the country remain at traffic light level Orange, while advice for New Zealanders who catch Covid again has changed.

A person holds a negative result of the COVID-19 antigen rapid test (file picture).

Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall said the decision to remain at Orange was due to hospitals being under pressure from flu and Covid "and numbers starting to creep up again a suite of additional measures are being put in place to help reduce spread".

"Yesterday the seven-day rolling average of Covid-19 cases was 5,808 and there were 395 people in hospital and 8 in ICU," Verrall said.

"However cases are ticking up and our health system is under pressure so we are putting in place a range of additional measures to help manage the virus over the coming winter months."

Reinfection

Verrall said advice around reinfection was changing.

"We are also updating our advice around reinfection and are now asking anyone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms 29 days or longer following their initial infection to test. Should they test positive they will need to isolate for 7 days.

"This is a change from earlier advice which was that people would not need to re-test if they had tested positive for Covid-19 within the past 90 days and is based on the latest international evidence and the need to isolate quickly people with reinfections," Verrall said.

The previous advice for people who got Covid symptoms less than three months after first testing positive, was to stay home and recover until 24 hours after you no longer have symptoms. The did not have to take a RAT test. For those with underlying health condition or symptoms that are getting worse, the advice was to seek advice from a health practitioner or call Healthline.

Household contacts who have had Covid-19 within 90 days still won’t need to re-isolate, unless they are symptomatic.

Orange

The country will remain at the Orange traffic light setting, with cases and hospitalisations remaining much lower than the peaks experienced earlier in the year. But with hospitals under pressure from flu and Covid and numbers starting to creep up again a suite of additional measures are being put in place to help reduce spread.

“While reinfections are low at the moment they are likely to increase. The B.5 variant of Omicron is predicted to become the dominant strain in the country in the coming weeks and is a different variant to what most New Zealanders caught the first time around," Verrall said.

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New Zealand moved to the Orange level of the traffic light system in mid-April.

The traffic light system replaced the alert level system in December last year. It was revised in mid-March.