Guide to isolation for close contacts: What you can, can't do, who has to isolate to keep everyone safe

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has provided some clarity around the requirements for close contacts who are in a household with other people. 

Bloomfield revealed at the daily 1pm press conference that as of 9am on Sunday, 8667 individual contacts have been formally identified and expected "virtually" all to be considered close contacts.

So what are the rules if you're living in a house with a close contact or with someone who is sick? There has been a lot of confusion and conjecture around what you can and can't do. 

The point of self-isolating is to stop the spread of the virus and keep everyone safe, so you should be isolating in your bubble.  

The first key information is everyone in your bubble should be isolating until the initial person who was forced to quarantine has returned a negative day five COVID-19 test.

This means no leaving the house, so stay at home so you can stop the spread and keep everyone safe.   

The Ministry of Health confirmed to Newshub that household members are not required to be tested unless they develop symptoms.

Even though you're all in a bubble within your household, Dr Bloomfield said close contacts must self-isolate separately from the rest of their bubble.

So if you're a close contact of a positive or probable case, you should basically be in your bedroom away from the other members of your bubble. 

Once the close contact has returned a negative day five COVID-19 test, the other household member can return to work and their normal daily lives while the close contact will continue to isolate for the 14 days while receiving a test on day 12.

People will argue five days isn't long enough to ensure that the virus hasn't spread within the household bubble, but the Ministry of Health defended the rule. 

"Given what we know about the incubation period for the Delta variant, the five-day period covers the highest risk period during which a close contact is most likely to become infectious (if they become infectious)," the Ministry of Health told Newshub.   

Isolating obviously makes basic everyday logistics hard, so ask family and friends to get groceries and supplies for you and drop it at the door so they don't come in contact with you. 

The Ministry of Health stressed anyone who develops symptoms at any time should call Healthline for advice, be tested immediately and isolate until they return a negative test.