Wellington, January 23, 2022
This update shares key information about the government’s response to Covid-19.
It is intended to provide consistent information across central government, local government, Civil Defence Emergency Management and our key partners.
Key things to note
All of New Zealand will move to Red at 11.59 pm tonight (January 23, 2022).
Nine cases were reported in the Nelson-Marlborough region yesterday (January 22, 2022) have been confirmed as Omicron.
We have been preparing for this moment and we are ready. The plan for managing Omicron cases in the early stage remains the same as Delta where we will rapidly test, contact trace and isolate contacts to limit the spread of the virus.
Red is not a lockdown
People should stay calm and go about life as normally as possible. Red is not a lockdown.
There were 24 new cases in the community reported today, and 47 cases identified at the border.
Workforces covered by the Vaccination Order including border, MIQ and health and disability workers will be required to have their booster by 15 February 2022, or not later than six months after their second dose for those who were only recently vaccinated.
All other workforces covered by the Vaccination Order including Education, Corrections, Police, Defence, and Fire and Emergency workforces will be required to have their booster vaccination by 1 March 2022.
93% of eligible New Zealanders are now fully vaccinated.
At Red, businesses stay open and people can do most of the things they normally do, including visiting family and friends and moving around the country.
Because of vaccinations, for most people, Covid-19 will be a mild to moderate illness that can be managed at home.
Help and support, including financial support, will be available for people who are isolating, including the Leave Support Scheme and Short-Term Absence Payment.
The government encourages everyone to make a plan to be ready.
Cases of Omicron in Nelson
Nine Covid-19 cases reported yesterday in the Nelson Marlborough region have now been confirmed as the Omicron variant. A further case from the same household was also confirmed as Omicron. The cases are in a single-family that flew to Auckland on 13 January to attend a wedding and other events on the weekend of January 15-16.
Initial estimates suggest that there were well over 100 people at these events.
There has also been an additional infection of a fully vaccinated Air New Zealand flight attendant who picked it up on flight 5083 on January 16 from Auckland to Nelson, the family was on this flight.
That flight attendant has worked on four additional flights while infectious.
Health officials do not yet have a clear lead on the index case that links this family to the border, as with other Omicron cases to date. That means Omicron is circulating in Auckland and possibly the Nelson Marlborough region if not elsewhere.
What does Red mean?
Wear a face-covering wherever you go. These are mandatory on flights, public transport, taxis, retail, and public venues.
With a My Vaccine Pass, people can visit cafes and bars, attend gatherings and events, and visit close contact businesses like hairdressers. Some limits like capacity and distancing requirements will apply.
Without My Vaccine Pass, there are more restrictions in place. For example, people can’t visit close contact businesses like hairdressers or gyms, attend events like concerts, or dine in at cafes and restaurants.
Workplaces and schools are open — public health measures will be in place
Keep scanning QR codes and record-keeping
Keep physically distanced wherever possible
If people have cold or flu symptoms, they should isolate immediately and call Healthline (0800-3585453) for advice about a test.
Source: Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Wellington