“Retaining a seven-day mandatory COVID isolation period makes New Zealand a global oddity. It’s a kind of Hermit Kingdom redux, 2023 edition, where Labour keeps treating adults like kids and putting costs on the economy like money is no object,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Not only is the isolation requirement draconian and out of touch, but it is also ineffective. Nobody knows the true compliance rate, least of all the Government. We suspect mandatory 7-day isolation is counterproductive. If the rules are too strict, people who cannot afford to follow them will not, and there will actually be more transmission than an approach based on personal responsibility.

“ACT said last February that people who isolate with a positive test should be able to leave isolation with a negative test. Modelling last August showed ACT was correct, a test-to-freedom policy would deliver “a 40% reduction in the number of cases infectious at release and hours infectious post-release.”

“In the 14 months since last February the rest of the world has moved on. In the U.K. isolation has been voluntary since last September. Australia’s National Cabinet ended mandatory isolation requirements last October. Singapore’s Government decommissioned its COVID website in February, they’re really moved on.

“The current advice on the main Singapore Health website says “If there is a need to go out while symptomatic, or if asymptomatic but tested positive for COVID-19, we should exercise social responsibility – minimise social interactions, wear a mask, avoid crowded places, do not visit vulnerable settings such as hospitals and nursing homes, and do not have contact with vulnerable persons, such as the elderly.”

“It’s time for the New Zealand Government to treat citizens like adults again and issue similar advice. The alternative is a worst of all worlds scenario where the Government treats adults like children, the few who do comply pay high costs, and those who don’t keep the virus circulating.

“The fact the Government has sat on this, month after month, shows reckless disregard for the people of New Zealand. They are happy to impose high costs with little benefit, and take their sweet time getting around to fixing it. COVID isolation must be made voluntary today."

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