New Zealand has now moved into Phase 3 of the Omicron response. Measures to keep critical supply chains such as the primary sector going through the outbreak remain in place, but isolation and testing requirements have changed.
- Only confirmed cases and their household contacts are required to isolate.
- All other contacts are asked to monitor symptoms but do not have to isolate.
- Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) will become the primary form of testing in the community with availability from thousands of sites around the country including pharmacies and GP practices.
- Approved RATs will be available for purchase through retail outlets.
- Prepare for supply chain disruptions – talk to your processor and plan ahead.
Close contacts are not required to self-isolate and only confirmed cases and household contacts of a confirmed case are required to do so.
Confirmed cases and household contacts should isolate for 10 days but can self-release after day 10, providing any testing requirements are met. If they develop symptoms, they are encouraged to test sooner.
RATs are now the primary form of testing. You can access a RAT from hundreds of locations around the country, making getting a test much easier.
Locations that have RATs available can be found on the HealthPoint website.
PCR testing is reserved for people where it’s clinically indicated they need it. A PCR test is not required to verify a positive RAT result.
Household contacts who are critical workers
The following measures remain in place to enable household contacts who are critical workers to continue to work, providing they meet criteria:
1) The close contact exemption scheme
Information about the close contact exemption scheme is on this webpage. Farmers have told us the process to register is quick and easy.
2) ‘Bubble of one’ guidelines
Details about ‘bubbles of one’ are on this webpage.
Other measures to protect the supply chain
As with other phases or settings in the COVID-19 response, it remains essential that farmers focus on keeping our supply chain as free of Omicron as possible.
It would be very easy for an asymptomatic farmer to unknowingly pass the virus on to a truck driver or stock agent, who could then unknowingly pass it on to others in saleyards, processing plants and other locations – potentially leading to disruptions.
B+LNZ reminds farmers to:
- follow the guidance on our COVID-19 webpage, particularly on protocols and planning ahead – complete the On-Farm Checklist (PDF, 656 KB), have a plan ready and talk to your processor
- use the NZ COVID Tracer app – Omicron can be passed on before symptoms develop, so the app may be the only way you know you’ve been exposed and while being designated a close contact would be inconvenient, the rules outlined above are aimed at keeping this manageable.
- B+LNZ's COVID-19 webpage
- MPI’s COVID-19 Protection Framework guidance for the primary sector
- Information if you test positive for COVID-19 (Unite against COVID-19 website)
- Financial support packages that farmers may be able to access (help for businesses to pay employees who’ve been advised to self-isolate and can’t work at home): Work and Income’s Leave Support Scheme and the Short-Term Absence Payment.