New Zealand adds new COVID restrictions as omicron spreads
New Zealanders are set to face new COVID-19 restrictions after nine cases of the omicron variant were detected in a single family that flew to Auckland for a wedding earlier this month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Sunday.
The so-called "red setting" of the country's pandemic response includes heightened measures such as required mask wearing and limits on gatherings, and the restrictions will go into effect on Monday.
Ardern stressed that "red is not lockdown," noting that businesses can remain open and people can still visit family and friends and move freely around the country.
"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," Ardern told reporters in Wellington on Sunday.