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What does the move to Phase 3 mean?

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The government has announced a move to Phase 3 from 11.59pm, 24 February, 2022.

A quick summary of Phase Three:

  • Locations of interest are not published in Phase 3.
  • Rapid antigen tests (RAT) becomes the key method for diagnosis of Covid-19
    • positive test results do not need to be confirmed with a PCR unless advised
  • Majority of positive cases are self-management
  • Anyone with symptoms must isolate and get a test
  • Positive cases n
    • need to isolate for 10 days
    • self-release after 10 days (you do not need a negative test)
  • Positive cases will be asked to self-notify close contacts
    • businesses will now more likely be contacted directly by their employee that they are positive / a close contact, rather than by public health
  • Close contacts (Household contacts) 
    • Household contacts – need to isolate until the positive case completes 10 days (with test on day three and day ten).
      • If you are a Household Contact and you test positive, you will need to isolate for 10 days.
    • Other close contacts – not required to self-isolate, monitor symptoms and get tested if symptomatic

More detail on Phase Three:


You should only get a COVID-19 test if: you have symptoms, or, you are a Household Contact

  • Rapid antigen tests (RAT) becomes the key method for diagnosis of Covid-19
  • Symptomatic people  may use a RAT for diagnosis  – positive test results do not need to be confirmed with a PCR unless advised
  • RATs will be available at a variety of locations, depending on reason for testing, including Community Testing Centres / Pick up points, GPs, pharmacies, community providers or workplaces.

Case investigation and contact tracing

  • Locations of interest will not be published during Phase 3.
  • There will be self-service tools available for people to provide information for contact tracing and case investigation. People who test positive will be supported to notify their Close Contacts.
  • Cases will be:
    • identified by positive PCR or RATs, or if they have symptoms
    • notified by text message and sent a link to complete the COVID-19 Contact Tracing form. This online self-investigation tool will focus on very high-risk exposures to narrow the numbers of contacts identified.
  • Contacts will:
    • only be traced and required to isolate if they are a high-risk contact (household)
    • be contacted automatically through the online self-investigation tool, with the option for people who test positive to notify their contacts themselves
    • there will be limited use of push notifications, locations of interest or Bluetooth tracing.

Isolation and quarantine

  • Cases: Isolate for 10 days (self-release after 10 days, no need for a negative test)
  • Household contacts of a Case: Isolate until Case completes 10 days. Test Day 3 and Day 10 of the case’s isolation, or if symptomatic
  • Other Close contacts: No requirement to isolate. Self-monitor for 10 days and test if symptomatic

Further information on the 3 Phase Omicron response is available here.

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