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New Zealand To Move To Red From 11:59pm Tonight

COVID-19 update from the New Zealand Government

From 11:59pm tonight, 23 January 2022, all parts of New Zealand will move to the Red setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) in response to cases of the Omicron variant identified in the Nelson/Marlborough region with no clear link to the border.

As announced by the Government on 20 January 2022, in the event of an Omicron outbreak, New Zealand would move to Red.

Red is not lockdown. At Red, businesses can stay open and you can do most of things that you normally do, including visiting family and friends and travelling around the country.

What Red does mean is immediately increasing our use of masks, changing the way we interact in hospitality settings and reducing gathering sizes in order to slow Omicron down. It also means that if some businesses choose not to use vaccine passes they must close and some activities cannot go ahead.

Businesses and workplaces remain open but some workers may need to be vaccinated. Where it is appropriate, businesses may wish to enable people to work from home.

These measures will help take pressure off our health system and protect those most at risk of getting sick.

We're taking this step now as nine COVID-19 cases reported yesterday in the Nelson/Marlborough region have now been confirmed as the Omicron variant, and a further case from the same household was confirmed late yesterday.

These cases flew to Auckland on 13 January to attend a wedding and other events. Initial estimates suggest there were well over 100 people at these events.

This cluster has already led to an additional infection of a fully vaccinated Air New Zealand flight attendant, who picked it up on flight 5083 on January 16th from Auckland to Nelson. That flight attendant has worked on four additional flights while infectious. These flights are listed as locations of interest on the Ministry of Health website.

That means Omicron is circulating in either Auckland or the Nelson/Marlborough region if not elsewhere.

More information on life at Red is available at the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

Our approach to Omicron

Our plan for managing Omicron cases in the early stage remains the same as Delta where we will rapidly test, contact trace and isolate cases and contacts in order to slow the spread.

But in addition to these measures, we have another tool to slow the spread – getting boosted.

If it has been four months since your second dose and you are over 18 you are due your booster. Please go to bookmyvaccine.nz to make an appointment or simply go to a local drive though, GP or pharmacy. The Healthpoint website has a list of all the vaccination sites in the country.

And in addition to boosters, children aged 5 to 11 can now be vaccinated and parents and caregivers are encouraged to seek out information to help you make that important decision.

By delaying Omicron's arrival, and with our low number of Delta cases, New Zealand has significant capacity in our system to attempt to stamp out outbreaks. While Omicron is far more infectious and in due course we know we will see far more cases than we have in the two years of the pandemic to date, the difference to previous outbreaks is that we are vaccinated and even better prepared.

For now, we're asking all New Zealanders to get boosted, wear a mask in indoor settings and outside when you can’t distance from others, and reduce contact as much as is practical. Also, in the coming days take steps at home and with your family, neighbours and community to make a plan to be ready. Resources to help you do this are on the Unite Against Covid-19 website.

If you are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms, isolate and get a COVID-19 test. Information on testing centres can be found at the Healthpoint website. People who test positive for COVID-19 should call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice.

Vaccine update

As at 11.59pm 22 January 2022:

  • 975,738 people have had booster doses, 56% of those currently eligible. There are 133,039 future bookings for boosters in Book My Vaccine (note that many of these will be for people who are not yet eligible but are planning ahead).
  • 16% of tamariki aged 5 to 11-year-olds have had their first dose which is 74,177. An additional 4% are booked in to get their vaccination.

Booster vaccines

Everyone who is eligible should get vaccinated. Every percentage point makes us that much safer.

Boosters are open to anyone who had their second dose 4 months ago or more. You can book or walk into a clinic and be vaccinated. Go to bookmyvaccine.co.nz to book or find a walk-in clinic.

Resources

Key COVID-19 information in Te Reo Māori and over 35 other languages, plus accessible formats for the disabled community, is available from the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

Information is available in NZ Sign Language, large print & audio, easy read.

Information for Pacific peoples.

Useful posters for your workplace or community.

Financial support for individuals, whānau, foreign nationals, and businesses.

Up-to-date Alert Level information

Case information and numbers from the Ministry of Health

Contact information

Call Healthline if you have symptoms 0800 358 5453

Need to talk? For mental health help, call or text 1737

Free helpline for businesses, offering advice and access to Government business support, HR and general business advice and access to online resources and webinars.

Call 0800 500 362 for North Island, or 0800 50 50 96 for South Island.

Report issues and people or businesses not following advice to COVID-19 Compliance Centre.

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