Section 70 of the Health Act is the one that allows the government to require people to isolate, get a covid test etc. if they are close contacts etc.  On 21 August the government amended Section 70 by excluding health workers as follows:

“For the purpose of preventing further outbreak or spread of COVID-19, which I consider to be a significant risk to the public, I, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, make the following direction under sections 70(1)(ea) and (f) of the Health Act 1956:

This direction applies to any household member of a person who has attended the locations of interest at the times and dates as set out in Schedule 1 or who has been categorised as a close contact.

I require these people to isolate or quarantine at their usual place of residence (which for visitors, includes accommodation), except as required to report and submit for testing as directed, until the person who has been at a location of interest, or who has been categorised as a close contact, has received a negative day 5 test result, or until after an earlier negative test result if contact between the two people had ceased.

The direction does not apply to persons who are required to provide an essential health service (being a service provided for the purpose of assessing, improving, protecting, or managing the physical or mental health of individuals or groups of individuals) as long as the following conditions are met:
  • The person is vaccinated, having received 2 injections of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine;
  • The close contact of the household member has been tested for COVID-19 following the exposure event and has received a negative result;
  • The negative test result must be from a RT-PCR test (a test for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral ribonucleic acid using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction); and
  • No household members have symptoms of COVID-19.”
Why essential health workers are subject to lesser restrictions and therefore protections for us all is probably a reflection of needing the workforce at work…. Given the experience at Waitemata this is a reasonable assumption but that is all it is.  We have asked for an explanation and will confirm that with you when we receive it.