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Coronavirus: New Zealand says it won’t use lockdown

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – New Zealand is one of the few remaining countries to have avoided any outbreak of the Omicron variant – but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday that an outbreak was inevitable. and the country will tighten restrictions as soon as an outbreak is detected.

But she also said that New Zealand will not impose the lockdowns it has used in the past, including on the Delta variant.

“This phase of the pandemic is different from what we’ve dealt with before. Omicrons are more contagious,” Ardern said. “That will make it harder to stop it, but it will also make it harder to control when it comes. But just like before, when COVID changes, so do we.”

Ardern says that within 24 to 48 hours of Omicron being detected in the community, the country will go “red”. That would allow businesses to remain open and resume domestic travel, but would require students to wear masks and limit crowds to 100.

Currently, most of New Zealand is in the “orange” scene, which requires some people to wear masks and proof of vaccination but there is no limit to crowd size.

About 93% of New Zealanders aged 12 years and over are fully immunized and 52% have had their booster shot. The country has just begun to vaccinate children between the ages of 5 and 11.

New Zealand has managed to contain the spread of the Delta variant, with an average of about 20 new cases per day. But it has seen an increasing number of people arrive in the country and subject to mandatory quarantine of those infected with Omicron.

That has put a strain on the quarantine system and led the government to restrict access to returning citizens while it decides what to do about reopening its borders, leaving many wanting to return. Angry New Zealand again.

Opposition leader Christopher Luxon said Ardern had badly planned Omicron and had managed to bring into the country under one rapid COVID-19 test per person.

“It’s a great indictment of the government’s unplanned laziness,” he said.

Ardern says the most important thing people can do is have a booster shot, which will reduce the severity of an Omicron infection and allow most people to recover on their own at home rather than needing hospital care. squirrel.

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