Self-isolation pilot to start with 150 people

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ.

The goal of safely re-opening our borders and developing new ways for people to travel will start with a self-isolation pilot, says Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.

"As part of the Reconnecting New Zealanders plan announced in August, the self-isolation pilot will look at self-isolation for vaccinated travellers who have not been to very high-risk countries," says Hipkins.

"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."

Expressions of Interest are being called for up to 150 people to participate in the pilot.

Hipkins says the pilot is aimed at business travellers, to travel overseas on a short business trip and self-isolate in approved accommodation for 14 days on their return.

"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. Employers will need to apply on behalf of their employees and can submit their EOI from 9am, Thursday, September 30, until 5pm, Saturday, October 9."

Businesses are encouraged to check the criteria carefully, says Hipkins.

"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."

As part of the pilot, people are being asked 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.

More information on the self-isolation pilot will be made available in the next few days:

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@Slim Shady

Posted on 29-09-2021 11:35 | By morepork

I wish I could share your optimism that "the pandemic is nearly over". It isn’t going to be over because we want it to be. Certainly, rising vaccination levels world-wide will impact it, but there is still the risk of further waves. I hope you’re right, but I have doubts that 3 months will see normality...

It is sad...

Posted on 29-09-2021 11:31 | By morepork

...that there has to be an MIQ lottery and something certainly needs to be done to address it. But the safety of this plan is dependent on vaccination levels and they are not high enough yet. I would bet that new clusters will emerge out of this if it goes ahead right now, but I don’t have a better idea (other than waiting... and that is non-viable for most people...).

Is it ridiculous Slim?

Posted on 29-09-2021 10:30 | By Justin T.

Is it ridiculous Slim? After all, the Singapore example you like to use has a similar control measure in place, backed up by a $20,000 fine for those that break home quarantine which includes phone and tracing systems are NOT allowed to be turned off.


Posted on 28-09-2021 19:08 | By

Unscientific crap. Should have been in 12 months ago. It is now outdated by a long way. 14 days isolation? Not necessary with Delta. It is just bullshit crumbs to string it out even more. The pandemic is nearly over and countries are returning to normal. In 3 months everywhere else will be moving freely.