THE NEW ZEALAND government is ready to tighten the country’s borders, following cases of infection with a new type of corona virus (COVID-19) due to the Omicron variant. However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would not return to quarantine or lockdown.

When Omicron begins to spread in the community, New Zealand will establish a red status within the framework of protection during the COVID-19 pandemic. This status allows for rules or restrictions to be imposed on events, as well as the implementation of social distancing in public places, hotels and wider requirements for the use of masks.

“However, we will not use a lockdown. New Zealand is bracing for a highly contagious case of COVID-19 caused by Omicron. Currently, 93% of citizens aged 12 years and over in the country have received complete vaccinations and the government has started to give additional or booster doses to provide greater protection,” Ardern said, quoted by BNN Bloomberg, Thursday (1/20).

He explained that we won’t be able to stop Omicron from entering the community, but we can use tools to try and slow it down. By providing a boost, New Zealand is expected to achieve a high level of protection. Countries will be able to reduce the spread and cases of COVID-19 with severe symptoms due to Omicron.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health previously confirmed three cases of COVID-19 from Omicron in Auckland, and possibly a fourth, as well as another possible case in Palmerston North. The government is reviewing whether to start a gradual reopening of borders starting next month to further delay the spread of the outbreak due to the variant.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in managed isolation facilities has surged in recent weeks, prompting officials to stop offering new premises. [sources/photo special]