Employers association wants household contact isolation ended

An employer’s association wants the seven day isolation period for household contacts of Covid-19 cases to be scrapped.

A negative result of SARS-CoV-2 antigen test is seen in this illustration photo

Photo: AFP

This week Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the seven day isolation period for household contacts is regularly reviewed, but is an important factor in keeping case numbers down.

But Employers and Manufacturers Association chief executive Brett O’Riley said some New Zealand businesses are still having to reduce their hours or adapt the way they operate while staff are isolating, despite the staff not having returned a positive test result themselves.

“The isolation period is having a significant impact on productivity – any opportunity to safely reduce that time would be welcomed by businesses and their workers around the country.”

Other countries such as Australia and the UK have recently relaxed self-isolation rules for household contacts of people contagious with Covid-19.

However, while the UK National Health System does not require household contacts of people with Covid-19 to fully self-isolate, it warns they are more likely to have the virus and to pass it on to others, even if they don’t have symptoms. So, household contacts are told they must limit contact with anyone they don’t live with, especially indoors, and avoid contact with anyone at higher risk from Covid-19.

Employers and Manufacturers Association chief executive Brett O'Riley

Brett O’Riley Photo: Supplied/ EMA

EMA disappointed at not being sent US trade tour itinerary

The country’s largest export group said it was disappointed it had not been involved in the lead up to the Prime Minister’s trade mission to the United States later this month.

Jacinda Ardern has contracted Covid-19, but will be out of isolation if she tests negative shortly before she is due to travel in late May.

O’Riley said many exporters could have benefited from the visit if preparations were made.

He said the EMA had not been provided with an itinerary and if they had been they would have arranged for businesses to be in the United States at the same time as the trade delegation.

“It would have been nice to have seen a more orchestrated plan, and an opportunity for people to leverage off it.

“I’m not even aware of the … itinerary in the United States, so that doesn’t give us much opportunity to help the over 1000 exporters and members of the EMA to get involved with it.”

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