Changes to Self-Isolation Requirements for non-fully vaccinated residents

News Releases

Yellowknife — December 17, 2021

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) announced a new Public Health Order (PHO) that will go into effect at 12:00 pm today.

Some of the highlights of the new PHO include:

  • Self-isolation requirements will be based on the vaccination status of the traveller instead of the vaccination status of the least vaccinated household member.
  • Partially vaccinated children under the age of 12 have no self-isolation requirements from 14 days after their first dose of vaccine until eight (8) weeks after that first dose. They will need additional testing on the day of their arrival in NWT and again on day eight (8).
  • Newborn babies, 0-6 months old, born to fully vaccinated birth parents, may follow the same public health requirements as their birth parents.
  • Non-vaccinated persons returning to the NWT can reduce their self-isolation requirements to eight (8) days by testing negative with a healthcare provider, on day eight (8) of their self-isolation period.
  • There are testing requirements for all persons intending to travel to smaller NWT communities; who work/volunteer with vulnerable populations or in high-risk settings; and for those who have returned from international travel.

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) remains committed to Emerging Wisely 2021, to minimize public health restrictions, while prioritizing the health and safety of residents and protecting the capacity of  the health care system.

The vaccine continues to provide protection against COVID-19, including the Omicron variant and booster shots doses are recommended for residents who had their second dose six months ago or more. Vaccines are effective protection against possible severe outcomes that may result from a COVID-19 infection.

All travellers returning to or entering the NWT are required to follow the Public Health Orders in effect across the NWT. 

Persons may direct inquiries about public health orders to ProtectNWT at or 1-833-378-8297. Copies of all the current Public Health Orders can be found on at the GNWT’s COVID-19 website.


“I am pleased that this new Public Health Order will make life easier for NWT residents, particularly families with young children, when they return to the territory after travel. There is a risk of travellers bringing the omicron variant with them to the NWT but testing and isolation will assist us with early detection and management. Of course the best defense against omicron and all COVID-19 variants is vaccination. Check the NTHSSA website to learn about vaccination opportunities in your community.”

- Julie Green, Minister of Health and Social Services

“This change is an important step forward. It will allow more freedoms for children who have travelled, while also protecting others in vulnerable settings. Therefore, maintaining public safety with the least amount of necessary public health restrictions. We must work toward less schooling disruptions, social isolation, and more access to resources that impact mental and physical well-being of children and their families.

Though much is unknown about the Omicron variant, the early data suggests the booster dose increases protection against infection and severe health outcomes significantly.”

- Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer

Quick facts

  • 44% of children aged 5 – 11 have received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 76% of the NWT population 5+ are fully vaccinated.
  • More than 90,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered in the NWT of which close to 14,000 third dose and booster doses

Related links


For media requests, please contact:

COVID Communications

COVID Coordinating Secretariat

Government of the Northwest Territories