New Zealand to ease COVID measures this week despite Omicron threat - PM




  • In Health
  • 2021-11-29 04:26:21Z
  • By Reuters
 

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday the country will move into a system of living with the COVID-19 virus later this week despite the new Omicron variant posing a fresh health threat to the world.

There were no cases of the Omicron variant in New Zealand at this stage but the developing global situation showed why a cautious approach was needed at the borders, she said.

"Omicron is a reminder of the risk that still exists at our borders," Ardern said at the news conference.

New Zealand has some of the toughest border controls in the world and plans to keep borders closed to most international travellers for a further five months.

It also introduced fresh border measures for travellers from nine southern African nation on the weekend, announcing that only citizens from these countries can travel to New Zealand and will have to stay in state quarantine for 14 days.

Ardern said a lot of evidence still needed to be gathered to know the impact of the Omicron variant.

"It may impact on our vaccines, but it may not. It may be more severe or it may be more mild than Delta ... we simply dont know," Ardern said.

Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said authorities were looking at whether more needed to be done at the borders to keep Omicron away.

"It's really just looking to keep it (Omicron) out while we learn more about it," Bloomfield told reporters at the news conference.

New Zealand moves into a new "traffic light" system from Friday that rates regions as red, orange or green depending on their level of exposure to COVID-19 and vaccination rates. Auckland, the epicentre of the country's Delta outbreak, will start at red, making face masks mandatory and putting limits on gatherings at public places.

New Zealand has had about 11,000 cases so far and 43 related deaths.

(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Stephen Coates)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Tonga undersea cable needs
Tonga undersea cable needs 'at least' four weeks to repair: NZ

Its only undersea cable was destroyed in an eruption, cutting it off from the rest of the world.

Are hospital admissions still the best way to gauge the COVID crisis?
Are hospital admissions still the best way to gauge the COVID crisis?
  • US
  • 2022-01-19 06:06:32Z

Using the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 to gauge the severity of the pandemic may not give an accurate picture in the Omicron era as more and...

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
  • US
  • 2022-01-19 05:02:46Z

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet with his Cabinet on Wednesday to review restrictions to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in England as he seeks...

Japan poised to widen COVID-19 controls as Omicron drives record infections
Japan poised to widen COVID-19 controls as Omicron drives record infections
  • US
  • 2022-01-19 01:59:44Z

Japan was poised on Wednesday to widen COVID-19 controls to cover half its population as the Omicron variant drives new infections to record levels. Prime...

Australians told to brace for more deaths amid Omicron wave
Australians told to brace for more deaths amid Omicron wave

Australia should brace for more COVID-19 deaths for the next few weeks, authorities said on Wednesday, as record infections fuelled by the Omicron outbreak...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Health