Acupuncture NZ Covid-19 Information for members and the New Zealand Public
Everyone is reminded that the best place to get your information about Covid 19 is the Unite against Covid website
25 March 2022
With the Omicron outbreak nearing its peak, the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced today that the Traffic Light system has been reviewed and changes will be made.
A number of the tools that were developed to fight COVID-19 were designed to protect an unvaccinated population from earlier variants of the virus.
Focus now is to make life simpler and closer to normal, but retain the things that are the most effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting people.
The COVID-19 Protection Framework (the Traffic Light System) will be simpler. It will help us all manage life with Omicron while reducing the impact of future outbreaks. It will, however, remain in place and can be changed up again should the need arise due to another variant or another wave of Omicron reaching New Zealand.
So, from 11:59pm on Friday 25 March, changes to the traffic light settings will come into play.
Vaccine passes were introduced earlier to help protect the health of New Zealanders. Now that close to 95% of the population has been vaccinated and some of the unvaccinated have gained a level of protection through already having contracted Covid, the need for Vaccine passes has significantly decreased. From 11.59pm on Monday 4 April, passes will no longer be needed.
Individual businesses may choose to retain the use of vaccine passes but it is no longer a government requirement.
When the number of active cases was relatively low, the QR Codes and community tracing was easier, the QR Codes played an important role. Now that Omicron is so widely spread throughput the community the ability to contact trace is greatly reduced. From this weekend businesses no longer need to display the QR Code and people no longer need to scan themselves in.
The Prime Minister suggested that we leave the App on our phones though in case it may be needed in the future. A new variant may require us all to reactivate the QR Code and tracking system.
Vaccine mandates remain in place for all health workers, those working in aged care and border and MIQ workers.
Education, and the police and defence forces will no longer be required to mandate vaccinations for their workers from Monday 4 April. The advice to the private sector is to be updated on the MoH website and employers are able to make their own decisions if they want to retain mandates for their staff in these sectors.
The Prime Minister emphasised that the best protection against Covid is still the vaccination and booster.
Stay safe everyone, look after yourselves and your families first. Continue all the good work everyone has been doing in maintaining high quality care in a safe environment for all our patients. Keep wearing your mask, washing your hands, changing the linen and keeping your rooms well ventilated. It has been a rough ride but hopefully we are nearing the end of the most difficult time.
Get in touch via the office if there is anything you need or want to know.
Acupuncture NZ Council
17 January 2022
From today the programme to vaccinate children 5-11 years old begins. Those over the age of 18 who have been vaccinated for four months or more can also book their booster from today Book here or find a walk-in venue locally.
We are expecting that all health providers will be required to receive the booster shot, so AcNZ members throughout the country are encouraged to not wait. If you received your second vaccine four months ago (or longer) then book that booster today.
Reports from the government and other experts are suggesting that Omicron will definitely be in the community before too long. Whilst being fully vaccinated (including the booster shot) doesn't entirely prevent infection, it does greatly reduce the liklihood of sertious illness and hospitalisation.
We are also being encouraged to dispense with the cloth masks and start to wear at least the blue and white surgical masks or even better, the N95 masks. N95 masks are available through most pharmacies and major suppliers. Recent studies have shown that the N95 masks, and to a lesser extent the surgical masks, provide greater protection against the Omicron variant.
1 December 2021
At 11.59pm tomorrow night, New Zealand moves into the Covid-19 Protection Framework (commonly being referred to as the traffic lights system). There has been confusion about exactly where we as Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists sit within this new framework. Last night the Ministry of Health published the Order outlining the requirements.
We received further clarification from the Ministry of Health today in the form of a letter and a flowchart from Martin Chadwick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer.
As is made clear in the Order, letter and flowchart, Acupuncture NZ members are able to continue to provide their services to all New Zealanders, regardless of vaccination status.
Those attending the clinics will still have to scan in using the QR Code and wear a mask in the public areas of the clinic premises. AcNZ members are expected to maintainall other safety protocols that we have become accustomed to over the last two years with regard to Covid-19
21 October 2021
It has been agreed by the Ministry of Health that Allied Health practitioners are able to return to work in Level 3 as long as certain criteria (see MoH flowchart) are met by all practitioners and clinics. This includes members of Acupuncture NZ. The change in perspective came about because of the work done by members of the Allied Health groups over the last few weeks. Many thanks to all those who put in such a major effort to get this through.
Acupuncture NZ have compiled a general outline of requirements for those members who wish to treat in Level 3. This new document has been emailed to all members today and is also available in the members area of this website.
20 October 2021
Every patient attending the clinic of an Acupuncture NZ practitioner in areas that are currently in Level 3 will be asked a number of screening questions prior to treatment commencing.
19 October 2021
Auckland remains in Level 3 Step 1, Northland will drop to Level 2 tonight at 11.59pm and an update will be given on Friday for the areas of the Waikato that are currently in Level 3. The rest of the country remains in Level 2.
We have learned over the last two days that in Alert Level 3 face to face acupuncture treatment can be provided where consistent with Ministry of Health guidance and where screening and infection control protocols are in place.
Practitioners are not obliged to open their clinics in Level 3 but may choose to do so, perhaps with reduced hours or reduced patient numbers to better enable appropriate safety measures to be enacted. Patients will be asked a number of screening questions ahead of attending or on arrival at the clinic, each clinic must display the QR code for patients to scan in on arrival, social distancing must be maintained (clinics may choose to operate on a one-in-one-out basis rather than overlapping appointment times), appropriate PPE must be worn by the practitioner and hygiene levels are of utmost importance. Face masks need to be worn in public areas but patients may need to remove them during actual treatment depending on the nature of the treatment being provided. (ie if face points are being needled or if the patient is face down on the table)
3 October 2021
Hamilton City, Te Kauwhata, Ngaruawahia, Huntly and Raglan move to Level 3 from 11.59pm tonight. Auckland remains in Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand is still at Level 2.
At Level 3 AcNZ members cannot work in their clinics but can provide Telehealth sessions for patients and supply herbs as long as they are picked up or delivered without direct contact.
There will be an announcement tomorrow regarding the extension or reduction of Level 3 for all those in Auckland.
Continue to wear masks when out and about, scan in where ever you go - and ensure that your patients scan in when they attend your clinic in Level 2 - continue with social distancing and keep washing your hands.
7 September 2021
From 11.59pm tonight most of New Zealand will move to Covid-19 Delta Alert Level 2. Auckland will remain at Level 4 for the time being. This means that AcNZ practitoners throughout New Zealand, except in Auckland, can resume working in their clinics from Wednesday morning.
The government has recommnded the use of masks in most situations but particularly when in close contact occupations. This means that practitoners and patients will be wearing masks in clinic from tomorrow as much as is practicable. Obviously if face points need to be needled then removing the mask is a sensible option. Often our practitoners need their clients to be lying face down for treatment so again, wearing a mask may not be desirable.
All businesses must display their QR code and clients are advised to scan themselves in at every visit. Physical distancing and hand hygiene recommendations remain a necessity and clinic linen will be changed frequently.
Stay safe everyone - we may have moved down a level but it's not over yet. Take good care of yourselves and each other.
2 September 2021
The government has announced that applications for the initial two-week Wage Subsidy August 2021, which opened on 20 August 2021, close at 11.59pm on Thursday 2 September 2021.
Applications for a second round of Wage Subsidy – to be known as Wage Subsidy August 2021 #2 – open at 9.00am on Friday 3 September.
To apply for the second round you must wait until two weeks after the date of your first application - for example, if you first applied on 23 August, then you cannot apply for the second round until 6 September. More information here.
31 August 2021
From 11.59pm this evening, 31 August 2021, all of New Zealand south of Auckland will move to Level 3 of lockdown. Auckland and Northland will remain in Level 4 - Auckland for two more weeks, but dependent on the results of further testing, Northland may move to Level 3 on Thursday night.
At Level 4 we are not able to work in our clinics but may provide Telehealth sessions for those who wish to consult with us. Unfortunately ACC have clearly stated that they will not cover acupuncture via telehealth so any such session must be paid for by each individual patient/client.
At Level 3 we still cannot work from our clinics but can continue to provide Telehealth consultations. Additionally, Acupuncture NZ members can supply herbal products as long as there can be fully contactless pick-up or delivery and payment is made online.
We can return to seeing people in our clinics once we move down to Level 2.
The very best thing we can all do is to stay safe and stay home until we are through this.
- Get tested even if you only have the slightest of symptoms or have been at one of the MoH listed locations of interest.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Immediately bin your tissues if you have needed to blow your nose.
- The very best protection is still to wash your hands frequently - after going to the toilet, before handling food, after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Soap and water is best but hand sanitiser is also ok
- If you haven't done so already make your appointment to get vaccinated - to protect yourself but also to help protect everyone else. Book online at the Book my Vaccine page or call Healthline on 0800 28 29 26.
- Masks are now compulsory whenever you leave your home.
- Scan into any business that you visit and be mindful to socially distance wherever you go.
- Eat well and eat regular meals. Get regular fresh air and exercise. Soak up some sunshine at every opportunity.
- Make sure you get plenty of sleep and don't push yourself to the limit.
- Take the time to rest and restore - get out in the garden, get creative, read a novel - anything to help recharge your batteries.
As Sole Traders or employers, you will likely be eligible for the government provided Wage Subsidy to help cover wages lost during Levels 3 and 4. If you are an employee, speak to your employer to make sure that they are aware that this payment is available to them.
Sole Traders and employers may also apply for the Resurgence Support Payment to assist in covering other business expenses.
Acupuncture NZ strongly recommend that all members get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity. There is increasing evidence that the vaccine is the best tool we have against the Delta variant of Covid-19. Whilst it is possible to still contract Covid after vaccination, the likelihood of needing hospital treatment, and particularly ICU care, is dramatically reduced after vaccination. We have an ethical, professional and social responsibility to all those who visit our clinics to take every possible step to ensure their continued safety.