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Local News


New Zealand moves to phase 3 in our Omicron response

As community cases spread across New Zealand the Government will move the country to phase 3 of the Omicron response plan at 11.59pm on Thursday night.

Isolation Changes
Isolation rule changes for contacts. Only confirmed cases and their household contacts will be legally required to isolate. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will need to isolate for 10 days. You will be sent a link to complete an online form, which will help contact tracers identify locations you have visited and people you have come into close contact with. 

If you do not have access to a mobile, you will be contacted by a contact tracer, or a primary care, Māori, iwi or Pacific health provider.

Contact tracing and locations of interest
Locations of interest will not be published during Phase 3. Contact tracing will focus on identifying high risk contacts of cases. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be supported to notify people you may have spent time with while infectious that you have tested positive. It will be your responsibility notify your employer and contacts. 

Contact tracers will focus on helping people who do not have access or are not confident using technology.

Testing and recording
Supervised RATs (rapid antigen testing) at general practitioners and other testing stations will become the main form of testing across the country. 

People will be able to use RATs as a diagnosis and will no longer have to get a traditional PCR test. People can upload this result via the health app, and need to tell their employer. These test results will now be included in the daily case numbers.

You should only get a COVID-19 test if you have symptoms, or you are a Household Contact. At Phase 3, rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be more widely used to confirm positive cases. When you go for a test, the testing centre will let you know which test — RATs or PCR is best for you.

Critical workers who are Household Contacts will still be able to use RATs tests to return to work, if they are fully vaccinated and do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. They will need to return a negative RAT before they go to work. Find out where testing is at

Rapid test availability
In early March the public will have access to purchase rapid tests from Retail outlets. However if you have been directed to be tested you always have the option of fee free testing at one of the testing facilities.

Chris Hipkins says "We're moving into a new phase, and New Zealanders are being asked to have a great deal of personal responsibility at this time"

Ashley Bloomfield advised to people to be mindful about who you visit. He cautioned against visiting elderly vulnerable people for example. "Act as if you have Covid, and look to protect others around you."