While Australia removed mandatory isolation for anyone who tested positive for COVID in October 2022, New Zealand retained the legal requirement for positive cases to isolate for seven days until 12.01 on Tuesday.
COVID cases and associated hospitalisations in New Zealand have been trending downwards since the beginning of June and reported cases over the last month are at the lowest levels since February 2022, when heavy restrictions were still in place across the whole country.
“While our case numbers will continue to fluctuate, we have not seen the dramatic peaks that characterised COVID-19 rates last year,” said New Zealand’s health minister Ayesha Verrall.
“This, paired with the population’s immunity levels, means Cabinet and I am advised we’re positioned to safely remove the remaining COVID-19 requirements.
“And while not mandated, the Ministry of Health guidance is to stay at home for five days if you’re unwell or have tested positive for COVID-19.
“It has been a long road, however thanks to lots of hard work, New Zealand’s COVID-19 approach has moved from an emergency response to sustainable long-term management.”
New Zealand’s business events association, Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) is pleased to see the last of the country’s business events restrictions go.
“We welcome the news and are thrilled this has finally happened. Conference delegates and incentive visitors will no longer have to isolate for seven days and can manage their own health requirements without any compulsory mandates,” said BEIA’s chief executive Lisa Hopkins.
“This means international and domestic business events’ organisers and delegates can now plan with confidence and be assured New Zealand’s approach to the pandemic has moved from an emergency response to sustainable long-term management.”
Reflecting on the years of lockdowns and event limiting – or cancelling – restrictions in New Zealand, Hopkins called the period “historic”.
“This period was historic. For our sector, it truly was catastrophic. Yet ironically, it was during this time we saw the first of our international convention centres open and the Government recognise the sector for the value it delivers – not just economically, but also socially.
“It is time to draw a line under COVID and move forward,” said Hopkins.