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Source: New Zealand Government

The lifting of COVID-19 isolation and mask mandates in August has resulted in a return of almost $50m in savings and recovered contingencies, Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today.

Following the revocation of mandates and isolation, specialised COVID-19 telehealth and alternative isolation accommodation are among the operational elements which provided underspend.

“Through ongoing reset and resize at a national, regional and district level, Te Whatu Ora has identified an operational underspend of $48.86m,” Ayesha Verrall said.

“The lifting of mandates and isolation requirements has been an opportunity to look at the funds remaining aligned with the COVID-19 Health System Response, with options for the $48.86m to be returned to the centre.

“The health sector has worked incredibly hard to vaccinate and support communities throughout the COVID-19 response, and continue to provide antiviral therapy to those who are eligible. The Ministry of Health guidance is to stay at home for five days if you’re unwell or have tested positive for COVID-19,” Ayesha Verrall said.