The Government will give 150 people the opportunity to trial self-isolation after overseas work travel over the next few months.
Businesses and organisations will, between Thursday, September 30 and October 9, be able to apply to partake in the pilot. Successful applicants will be announced on October 15.
The window travel will be able to occur in is fairly small. Travellers will need to arrive back in New Zealand between October 30 and December 8.
The Government is trialling self-isolation with those who need to travel for work, as involving businesses and organisations that have some skin in the game provides an extra layer of accountability.
The idea is for the trial to pave the way for when the border starts re-opening in the first three months of 2022. Members of the public may be required to self-isolate, rather than go through managed isolation, after overseas travel.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said, “The pilot is to explore a new pathway of entry into New Zealand and allows the Government to test operational readiness, identify areas where further work is required to scale up the approach and provide valuable insights into our options for the future."
Providing more information on the pilot, Hipkins said, “Self-isolation must be in a private dwelling with no shared ventilation system. The dwelling must have cellular coverage. Monitoring and testing over the self-isolation period will be mandatory.
“Participants are required to be a New Zealand citizen or holders of a resident visa with a right to re-enter New Zealand, be fully-vaccinated in New Zealand with the Pfizer vaccine, and not travel to or through very high-risk countries. Travel must be for business purposes which cannot be carried out from New Zealand.
“Participants will be selected through an Expressions of Interest (EOI) process…
“Businesses are encouraged to check the criteria carefully. As demand is expected to be higher than the numbers in the pilot, all eligible EOIs will be put into a ballot and spread across the six-week arrival timeframe.
“Public safety and keeping COVID-19 out of the community still remains our top priority.”
The Government in August announced its intention to have the pilot scheme up and running between October and December.
Hipkins will provide more information on Wednesday, when he will front the 1pm press conference.
His office said that when in self-isolation, participants in the trial will need to:
- remain in their place of self-isolation for at least 14 days. They will not be allowed to leave the property at any time
- isolate alone, or together with others from the same travelling party. They cannot isolate with family or any other household members.
- not allow any visitors to enter the premises, aside from medical staff for testing purposes and emergency or other essential services if required (e.g. fire, ambulance, police, tradespeople for urgent repairs);
- provide their own food and supplies (contactless deliveries are allowed)
- comply with all testing requirements set out by the Ministry of Health;
- comply with all monitoring requirements.