New Zealand to move to Red from 11.59pm today

Prime Minister

All of New Zealand will move to the Red setting of the Covid Protection Framework (CPF) at 11:59pm today as Omicron is potentially now transmitting in the community, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

“Nine COVID-19 cases reported yesterday in the Nelson/Marlborough region are now confirmed as Omicron, and a further case from the same household was confirmed late yesterday,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“These cases are in a single family that flew to Auckland to attend a wedding and other events on the weekend of January 15th and 16th.

“We don’t yet have a clear lead on the index case that links this family to the border, as we have with our other Omicron cases to date. That means Omicron is circulating in Auckland and possibly the Nelson Marlborough region if not elsewhere.

“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 as we have seen elsewhere in the world Omicron is significantly 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. But the difference to previous outbreaks is that we are vaccinated and we are even better prepared.

“Limiting the threat of Omicron will take a team effort, like we have done before, and there is one task that I am explicitly requesting New Zealanders to undertake as soon as possible – get boosted.

“And for those of you with children aged 5 to 11, all children aged 5 to 11 can now be vaccinated and I encourage parents and caregivers to seek out information to help you make that important decision,” Jacinda Arden said.