Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Trial to begin allowing some travellers to self-isolate at home

A trial allowing some people travelling for business to self isolate at home will begin next month.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the roadmap to reconnect New Zealand was being released in a staged approach – and that included a self-isolation trial for some travellers.

She said the trial would involve 150 people and focus on those who needed to travel for business, primarily in the private sector.

There will be a small number of government officials in the trial but vast majority will be from the private sector.

She said those taking part must be New Zealand residents.

People wanting to be involved in the trial will need to arrive in New Zealand between 30 October and 8 December, with final travellers leaving isolation by 22 December.

Ardern said it would be coupled with a testing and monitoring regime. It was only being offered to businesses because they had “some skin in the game.”

More information would be released on Wednesday by Minister Chris Hipkins. Expressions of interest would open on Thursday.

When asked why it has taken 18 months to trial isolating at home Ardern said there had been “no room for error with this virus, so it has been very tightly run”.

Self-isolation is only being considered in advance of a highly vaccinated public, she said.

Listen to epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker’s thoughts on home isolation in the latest episode of On the Tiles:

ACT Leader David Seymour criticised the length of time it’s taken to trial self-isolation saying nothing has changed in the past six months and the Government was being driven by public opinion research instead of science.

“We should be up to thousands of travellers per week on a self-isolation scheme like this. The whole of Auckland has been self-isolating for the past seven weeks. Announcing 150 travellers will self isolate after travelling is hardly news to them.

“A business travel network was first proposed by ACT in March as part of our COVID 2.0 paper when we said ‘The Business Travel Network would establish special requirements for business travellers to come here while safely managing the risk of COVID-19.”

He said ACT’s policy also had a traffic light system and special testing requirements.

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