COVID-19: Cabinet only received self-isolation advice on Sunday afternoon – Jacinda Ardern
But Chief Health Officer Ashley Bloomfield said on Friday he had told the government that the New Zealand government’s border rules conflicted with community isolation requirements.
On Friday, the government moved New Zealand into phase 3 of its Omicron response, meaning only household contacts of COVID-19 cases are legally required to self-isolate.
Asked about Dr Bloomfield’s advice, Ardern said: ‘The Chief Health Officer, I’m sure, would agree that the advice we’re talking about is the advice of Professor David Skegg and the [COVID Public Health] Advisory group.”
“We moved very quickly to get our experts together and, to say it again, the advice we received was yesterday afternoon – late,” Ardern said on Monday. “We acted very quickly to be able to consider this as a Cabinet today.”
Ardern refused to pre-empt Cabinet decisions.
“It’s really important that we work through all the implications, heed the advice we’ve been given – but we’ll do that in a very short time and it’s only a matter of hours before I have the chance to then share those decisions,” she said.
Ardern would not disclose the advice the Cabinet had received. She said it would be released on Monday afternoon.
“What we already said at the beginning of February is that once you have cases at a certain point, it actually becomes the case that the additional cases at the border do not have as much impact because of what you already have in the community – so we asked for this advice because obviously we’re in this place now for review. The thing we want to think about, though… is just the magnitude of the additional cases you’re bringing in because that we have to think about when we open up to everyone.”
It comes after community cases of COVID hit another all-time high on Sunday with 14,941 new infections. Forty-one cases have been detected at the border.