COVID-19: Epidemic notice and Orders

Information on the Epidemic notice and Orders issued by the Government to manage specific matters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated: 29 June 2022

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COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020

The COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 (the COVID-19 Act) was passed as standalone legislation to provide a different legal framework for responding to COVID-19. The Act allows the Minister of Health (or the Director-General of Health in specified circumstances) to make orders under section 11 to give effect to the public health response to COVID-19 in New Zealand.

COVID-19 Public Health Response (Self-isolation Requirements and Permitted Work) Order 2022

COVID-19 Public Health Response (Self-isolation Requirements and Permitted Work) Amendment Order (No 2) 2022 (New)

This order is made by the Minister for COVID-19 Response under sections 11 and 15(1) of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 in accordance with section 9 of that Act.
This order amends the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Self-isolation Requirements and Permitted Work) Order 2022 (below). It comes into force at 11.59 pm on 11 March 2022.

Director-General of Health Notices pursuant to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Self-isolation Requirements and Permitted Work) Order 2022

This notice is issued by the Director-General of Health pursuant to clause 30 and clause 27A of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Self isolation Requirements and Permitted Work) Order 2022 for critical workers delivering a critical health service who are confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19. It comes into force from 20 March 2022.

The following notices are issued by the Director-General of Health pursuant to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Self isolation Requirements and Permitted Work) Order 2022 for critical workers. They come into force from 24 February 2022.

The following notices are issued by the Director-General of Health pursuant to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Self isolation Requirements and Permitted Work) Order 2022 for critical workers. They come into force from 2 March 2022.

Specification of COVID-19 Vaccines Under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020

Sets out the doses of each COVID-19 vaccine or combination of COVID-19 vaccines specified in the Schedule to the notice that are required for a person to be “vaccinated” for the purposes of all or any legislation in, or made under, the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 that uses this defined term.

The schedule does not apply to vaccination obligations under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order (No 2) 2020.

COVID-19 Public Health Response (Infringement Offences) Regulations 2021

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Infringement Offences) Regulations 2021 are made under the COVID-19 Act. The regulations set out three classes of infringement offence and penalties for each class and applies the classes to the infringement offences in the COVID-19 Act.

COVID-19 Public Health Response (Infringement Offences) Amendment Order 2021

This omnibus COVID-19 order assigns a class and penalty to each of the current infringement offences (except for the COVID-19 Protection Framework).

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Amendment Order 2021 assigns the class and penalty to infringement offences in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 (known as the ‘traffic light system’).

Notice of specified ‘COVID-19 tests’ for the purposes of clauses 19A and 19A of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 11)

Under clause 19A of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 11) 2021 (the Order), it is a requirement that certain persons crossing the Alert Level boundary must carry, and produce on the request of an enforcement office, evidence of having had a COVID-19 test administered no more than seven days before beginning their journey. This clause provides for the Director-General to specify the particular kinds of examinations or tests which are acceptable for this purpose by notice in the New Zealand Gazette and publication on a publicly accessible New Zealand Government website. Additionally, clause 19B imposes certain duties on employers of workers crossing the Alert Level boundary.

This notice sets out the kind of tests that the Director-General of Health has specified as ‘COVID-19 tests’ for the purposes of clauses 19A and 19B of the Order.

Authorisations of Enforcement Officers under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020

The Director-General may authorise suitably qualified and trained individuals to carry out any functions and powers as enforcement officers under section 18 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020. The Director-General has currently authorised three classes of persons as enforcement officers. Those classes of people are:

  1. WorkSafe inspectors
  2. Aviation Security officers
  3. Customs officers
  4. members of the Armed Forces
  5. COVID-19 Enforcement Officers (Maritime Border).

The authorisations describe the class of people that are authorised as enforcement officers, the powers (available under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act) that they may exercise, and the functions which they may carry out:

Designated testing places for saliva testing approved under clause 13(3) of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Required Testing) Order 2020

The Director-General may designate places as designated testing places for the purpose of saliva testing under clause 13(3) of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Required Testing) Order 2020. On 12 August, the Director-General designated the locations in the notice attached as designated testing sites from the dates specified in the notice.


COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021

The first Vaccinations Order came into force on 30 April requiring that all work in MIQ settings must be undertaken by people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. This also applied to many government officials undertaking work in other high-risk border settings.

The expanded Vaccinations Order, which made it compulsory for most border workers to be vaccinated, was announced by the Government on 8 July 2021 and came into effect at midnight on 14 July 2021. 

The Ministry of Health has since announced the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order (No 3) which requires:

  • education and health and disability staff to be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022
  • corrections workers to be fully vaccinated by 8 December 2021.

See COVID-19: Mandatory vaccinations.

This amendment came into effect on 25 October 2021 and applies to the health and disability sector, education services and prisons.

Any unvaccinated workers who have previously been assigned to work in these settings will need to discuss alternative options with their employers. They will not be able to continue to work in high-risk environments until they are vaccinated.

On the 23 January 2022, an amendment came into to effect, making booster vaccination compulsory for: 

  • Border and MIQ workforces, if eligible for a booster, are required to have this by 15 February 2022 this includes any workers covered by this mandated dates because of the work they undertake in Defence and Police
  • Health and Disability workforces, if eligible for a booster, are required to have this by 15 February 2022 – this includes any workers covered by the health mandated dates because of the work they undertake in Corrections, FENZ, Defence, Education and Police
  • Affected educational services, Corrections (custodial staff), Police (Non-sworn employees who work in educational settings), , if eligible for a booster, are required to have this by 1 March 2022 
  • Note that workers covered in Schedule 2 part 10 of the Vaccinations Order and currently not covered by this mandate – this includes: 
    • workers at a food and drink business or service 
    • workers who carry out work at gyms 
    • workers who carry out work at permitted event, regardless of whether the work is carried out before people arrive at, or leave, the permitted event 
    • workers at close-proximity business or service 
    • workers who carry out work for a tertiary education provider at tertiary education premises that are located in an area described in Part 1 of Schedule 7 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021.

On the 14 February 2022, an amendment came into to effect, changing the mandated date for Health and Disability workers to receive their booster vaccination. Amendments to the Order have changed the previous mandated date for health and disability workers to receive their booster vaccinations, if eligible, from 11.59pm on Monday 14 February to 11:59pm Thursday 24 February 2022. 

On 25 March 2022, an amendment came into effect to expand the recognised list of COVID-19 vaccines under Schedule 3. This includes the addition of Novavax as a recognised primary course vaccine.

On 4 April 2022, an amendment came into effect removing Education and employers and their workers covered in Section 10 of the Vaccination Order, from mandatory vaccinations. It also removed Defence and Police staff unless they work at the border, or in the health and disability sector and are therefore still covered by the Vaccination Order

On 16 May 2022, an amendment came into effect that expands the recognised list of COVID-19 booster vaccines under Schedule 4 and introduces a new process for PCBUs (employers) with mandated workers to recognise and administer an exemption from vaccination for their workers for 100 days, if they can verify a COVID-19 positive test result.


Epidemic Notice

On Monday 23 March 2020, the Prime Minister issued an Epidemic Notice under section 5 of the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006. This was based on advice received from the Director-General of Health in response to the increasingly complex and far-reaching response to COVID-19.

On 12 June 2022, the Prime Minister renewed the Epidemic Notice for three months pursuant to section 7 of the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006.

What is an Epidemic Notice?

This Government has chosen to go hard and go early in the response to COVID-19 for public health reasons. The package of measures introduced since 14 March have helped New Zealand take a precautionary approach to managing COVID-19.

An Epidemic Notice is a public policy tool to help Government agencies respond swiftly and effectively in a rapidly evolving situation. An epidemic notice enables the use of a number of ‘special powers’ in legislation.

In particular, it will allow for the extension of people currently in New Zealand on temporary visas that will expire between 1 April 2020 and the end of the Epidemic Notice. See the section below for more details.

More special powers may be used as the situation progresses and this page will be updated when they are.

Duration of the Epidemic Notice

The Notice will last for three months from 16 June 2022 unless the Government chooses to lift it earlier.The Notice can be extended again if required.


Border Orders

COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021

The first Vaccinations Order came into force at 11.59pm on 30 April requiring that all work in MIQ settings must be undertaken by people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. This also applied to many government officials undertaking work in other high-risk border settings.

The expanded Vaccination Order, which makes it compulsory for most border workers to be vaccinated, was announced by the Government on 8 July and comes into effect at midnight on 14 July 2021. 

Any unvaccinated workers who have previously been assigned to work in these settings will need to discuss alternative options with their employers. They will not be able to continue to work in high-risk environments until they are vaccinated.

The specific roles affected by the Order are outlined in Schedule 2.

COVID-19 Public Health Response (COVID-19 Testing) Order 2020

A new health order came into force at 11.59 pm 14 August requiring those who work at Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities, at Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga, to be tested for COVID-19 by Monday 11.59 pm 17 August. 

An amendment to the Order was put in place on 17 August, to:

  • specify more precisely that only higher-risk workers at Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga are required to be tested
  • extend the deadline for testing affected workers by three days, to Thursday 11.59 pm, 20 August
  • extend the time period of exemption from further testing if a test has already been done from 12 pm 12 August to 12 am 12 August 2020.

Testing is part of our rapid response to detect any cases and contain the outbreak of COVID-19, and to protect the health of workers, their families and whānau and the broader community.

The purpose of this amendment was that we focus testing those at ports who are considered to be higher risk first, and by doing so quickly detect any cases. 

It’s important that we use legal measures such as this with discretion and in proportion to the risk level. This Order applied to those people where it was considered there was greater risk, but noting that it was still important that all those who work at the border and who are not affected by this order get a test and this remained voluntary. 

This Order has now been revoked and has been replaced by the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Required Testing) Order 2020.

COVID-19 Public Health Response (Required Testing) Order 2020

The purpose of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Required Testing) Order 2020 is to prevent, and limit the risk of, the outbreak or spread of COVID-19 by requiring testing and medical examination of certain higher risk border workers: those who work in managed isolation and quarantine facilities, as well as workers at ports and airports at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19.

There have been subsequent Amendments to the original (Required Testing) Order.

Maritime Border Order

The original Maritime Border Order 2020 came into effect at 11.59pm on Tuesday 30 June 2020. That order was revoked and replaced by the  

COVID-19 Public Health Response (Maritime Border) Order (No 2) 2020 (MBO) which came into effect on 11.59pm on Sunday 6 September.

The MBO continues the prohibition on foreign ships in New Zealand, with a range of exceptions. Exceptions include fishing ships, cargo ships and those that have been granted permission if there is a humanitarian reason or a compelling need for the ship to be delivered to a NZ business. 

The following amendment order, in effect from 11:59pm 2 May 2022, removes the requirement for arrivals by sea to isolate or quarantine for 7 days before entering the community. It requires crew, who want to disembark and enter the community, to undertake a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). This is known as the day 0/1 Test. Follow up reporting and testing requirements apply to those who disembark.  

Air Border Order

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2021 replaced the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order (No 2) 2020. The new Air Border Order sets out the different entry pathways into New Zealand ( self-testing or quarantine-free travel) and the conditions that travellers must meet prior to and on arrival in New Zealand.

This order can be read like the COVID-19 Protection Framework order – all the available public health measures are in the body of the order, and the schedules apply the requirements to the relevant groups. This order commences on 27 February 2022.

The following amendment notice, in effect from 11:59pm 21 March 2022, specifies the list of vaccines someone may be vaccinated with to meet the definition of ‘vaccinated’ under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2021.

Notices made under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2021

The following is a notice of a Class Exemption for New Zealand-based aircrew on Jetconnect flights from Auckland to Los Angeles or London from pre-requisites of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2021

The following is a notice under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2021 regarding the Specified Airport of Arrival.

The following notice, issued on 29 April 2022, specifies the information necessary to support public health response to COVID-19 and traveller declaration information – Alternate System and Alternate Traveller Pass

The following notice, issued 4 March 2022, specifies the collection of traveller health declaration information and self-isolation information for travellers entering New Zealand, as per clause 4 and 23 of the COVID Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2021. 

Testing requirements for people entering the country via the air border who are not required to isolate or quarantine

The following method of medical examination and testing for COVID-19, at the following times, is to be required for any person who is required to be tested pursuant to clause 8 of the Covid-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) 2021 (relevant person).

Evidence of pre-departure COVID-19 test

All COVID-19 test results (required to satisfy the negative COVID-19 test requirement) must contain the following information as appropriate evidence for the purposes of clause 30 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2021 Order.

COVID-19 Public Health Response (Exemption for Air Crew) Notice 2022

The Minister for the COVID-19 Response signed a class exemption on 4 April 2022 to exempt COVID-positive air crew from some clauses, under certain conditions, and with certain requirements.

 COVID-19 Public Health Response (Exemption for Air Crew) Notice 2022 (PDF, 23KB)

Authorisation of import of Point of Care Tests for limited use under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Point-of-care Tests) Order 2021

This notice takes effect at 11.59pm on 27 February 2022.

Authorisations for importing, supplying, selling and using of point-of-care tests under clause 8(1) of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Point-of-care Tests) Order 2021

The Director-General may authorise (otherwise prohibited under clause 7) any person or classes of persons to import, manufacture, supply, sell, pack, or use a point-of-care test for the purpose of testing for COVID-19 under clause 8(1) of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Point-of-care Tests) Order 2021. The Director-General, on 2 December 2021, has authorised the following persons or classes of persons in the attached Notice to do the listed activities.

COVID-19 Public Health Response (Point-of-care Tests) Order 2021

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Point-of-care Tests) Order 2021 came into force 22 April 2021. This order prohibits a person from importing, manufacturing, supplying, selling, packing, or using a point-of-care test for SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 unless the Director-General of Health has:

  • authorised the person’s activity; or
  • exempted the point-of-care test from the prohibition.

Find out more at COVID-19 Public Health Response (Point-of-care Tests) Order 2021.


Health Act Orders

There have been several orders produced under the Health Act 1956 for New Zealand’s COVID-19 response. These have now been revoked or replaced by orders made under COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020.

For further information about the previous Orders see Parliamentary Counsel Office COVID-19 legislation.


Section 70

To underscore the importance of individuals following the advice they have been given by the public health units or the national contact tracing team, a Section 70 of the Health Act 1956 can be issued.

A Section 70 order enables an authorised Medical Officer of Health to require those in the order to meet public health requirements to undergo testing and to isolate until they receive their result. Any time a person receives a direction from a medical officer of health they must comply with it.

Current section 70s are listed below.

S70 8 April - Revocation of the Direction under s 70 of the Health Act 1956

The Direction issued on 19 March 2022 under section 70 of the Health Act 1956 applying to any person (excluding aircrew) who arrives in Auckland from Apia, Western Samoa on the listed flights issued is revoked.

S70 - Revocation of Direction under s 70 of the Health Act 1956 – 18 February

The Direction under section 70 of the Health Act 1956 relating to Close Contacts dated 15 February 2022, is revoked.

S70 - Persons who are confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 – 18 February

The direction under section 70 of the Health Act 1956 relating to Persons who are confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 dated 18 February 2022, is revoked.

S70 Persons in MIQ who have returned a positive test for COVID-19 or close contacts of a positive case – 16 February

Person to whom this direction applies
  1. This direction applies to every person who:
    1. has returned a positive test during a period of isolation or quarantine (as defined in cl 10 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Isolation and Quarantine) Order 2020,
      1. and either has not completed their 10 days quarantine/isolation from the date the positive test was taken, or
      2. has not satisfied the ‘low risk indicators’ on day 20 of their period of isolation and quarantine, or
    2. has been identified as a close contact of a positive case of COVID-19 during their period of isolation or quarantine, or while subject to this notice.

S70 Persons who are confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 – 15 February

Persons to whom this direction applies
  1. This direction applies to every person who has returned a positive test, or meets the criteria to be classified as a confirmed or probable case, for COVID-19.
  2. However, this direction does not apply if a medical officer of health confirms that the person is not infectious (that is, if the result is indicative of a historical infection).

S70 Relating to Close Contacts – 15 February

Persons to whom this direction applies
  1. is a close contact of a person (A) who is a confirmed case or a probable case (unless a Medical Officer of Health confirms that A is no longer infectious – that is, unless A’s result is indicative of a historical infection); or
  2. attended a location of interest marked as ‘Close Contact’ at the times and dates (New Zealand Standard Time) as set out on the Contact tracing locations of Interest.

S70 Direction for arrivals from Tonga ‒ 13 February 2022

This following direction applies to any person (excluding aircrew) who arrives in Auckland on 15 February 2022 on flight NZ975. These people are required to undertake RAT tests on day 0/1 and day 5/6 after arrival, and report any positive result to the Ministry of Health.

Revocation of S70 relating to household members ‒ 24 December 2021


Managed Isolation and Quarantine Order

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Isolation and Quarantine) Order 2020, is a new Order that governs the legal requirements for people while they are in a managed isolation and quarantine facility (MIQF). 

It sets out that all persons in MIQF must be there for at least seven days and meet the low-risk indicators (e.g. have a negative COVID-19 test) before they can leave.

The Order clearly sets out what is taken into account for a special authorisation to leave isolation or quarantine early. This includes a risk-based approach which the Chief Executive of MBIE can use if authorising early exit for an exceptional reason.

It allows for a caregiver of a vulnerable person to enter a MIQF to provide care.

It incorporates (and revokes) the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Security of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities) Order 2020, which restricts entry to MIQ facilities and sets out a risk assessment for those who do unlawfully enter.

As the Chief Executive of MBIE is now responsible for the operation of MIQ facilities, the amendments provide further clarity around when decisions should be made based on advice from a health professional or Medical Officer of Health versus when decisions may be operational in nature.

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Isolation and Quarantine and Other Matters) Amendment Order 2021 updates the Isolation and Quarantine Order to allow for self-isolation to align with the new Air Border Order. This order commences on 16 January 2022.


Temporary visa holders

The New Zealand Government has issued an epidemic management notice and further strengthened travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travellers from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (New Zealand time).

Travellers with a temporary (work, student, visitor, interim and limited) visa who are unable to leave New Zealand should request an extension check. Confirmation of extensions will be emailed to all visa holders.

For further information, please see the New Zealand Immigration website.


COVID-19 Order Exemptions

Class-based exemptions from the requirements of orders made under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 are published in the New Zealand Gazette.

Current exemptions are also posted below.

Medicines Act 1981

Notice under Section 34A of the Medicines Act 1981 authorising off-label administration of COVID-19 Vaccine – interval between second and third doses

The Notice authorises the ongoing delivery of third (or booster) doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the reduced 3-month dose interval since completion of a primary COVID-19 vaccine course.

Notice under Section 34A of the Medicines Act 1981 authorising off-label administration of COVID-19 Vaccine – interval between second and third doses (PDF, 77 KB)


Medicines Amendment Act 2022

Notice for at-risk groups recommended to receive a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, authorised by the Director-General of Health under s34A of the Medicines Amendment Act 2022

Section 34A of the Medicines Amendment Act 2022 provides for the Director-General of Health to authorise the administration of already consented COVID-19 vaccines (consented under sections 20 or 23 of the Medicines Act 1981) to any people specified in the notice.

The section requires the Director-General to be satisfied that the proposed administration of the COVID-19 vaccine is an appropriate measure to manage the risks associated with the outbreak or spread of COVID-19, and to have regard to the therapeutic value of the administration versus any risks to any person of receiving a vaccine.

This notice sets out the recommended groups the Director-General has authorised to receive a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to boost immunity and continue to be as protected as possible against COVID-19. No person in these groups is required under any Order to receive a fourth dose, but those in the recommended groups will be able to access a fourth dose at any available COVID-19 vaccination site.

In this section

  • The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Point-of-care Tests) Order 2021 prohibits a person from importing, manufacturing, supplying, selling, packing, or using a point-of-care test for SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 unless the Director-General of Health has authorised the person’s activity or exempted the point-of-care test from the prohibition. Read more
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