NZ staying at Orange amid 'significant pressure on hospitals'

Source: 1News

New Zealand will remain in the Orange traffic light setting of the Covid-19 Protection Framework as winter continues, a statement published on the Government's Covid-19 website announced on Tuesday afternoon.

All of New Zealand has been in the Orange setting since mid-April.

The statement said "there is still significant pressure on hospitals from winter illnesses, so our current measures have an ongoing role to play in reducing the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations."

"The health system usually sees elevated pressure through September, so we would be hoping to see some sustained reductions in both cases and hospitalisations then.

The statement went on to say that "current modelling suggests Covid-19 cases may have peaked at around 11,000 cases per day mid-July", but "due to the current high levels of Covid-19 infection in the community, the corresponding burden on primary and hospital care systems and the highest levels of mortality seen in the outbreak so far, the Covid-19 Protection Framework setting has been kept the same".

"Remaining at Orange gives our health system the level of support needed to prevent a surge in demand for care."

It comes as there were 5939 new community cases of Covid-19 announced by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday.

READ MORE: 5939 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday

Life at Orange means New Zealanders must wear a face mask in many indoor locations, including retail stores, but not in hospitality venues and there are no capacity limits or distancing requirements.

You do not need to wear a face mask at an event, either indoors or outdoors, but you do need to wear one on public transport.

And you need to wear a mask inside public venues or facilities such as museums and libraries, but not including swimming pools, and in other public indoor settings such as a court or tribunal and when visiting healthcare or aged care facilities. This does not include patients or residents.

Masks are strongly encouraged when people are indoors at schools and kura, but they are not required.

The statement said that "our response to Omicron is moving in the right direction, but loosening settings before we are completely on top of it risk infections going up again. We just need to stay the course a little longer.

"There will be no changes to case isolation and household contact quarantine requirements. The next review setting will be in September."

The traffic light system replaced the alert level system in December last year. It was revised in mid-March.