Is New Zealand about to open up? Jacinda Ardern announces plan to SCRAP ...

Is New Zealand about to open up? Jacinda Ardern announces plan to SCRAP ...
Is New Zealand about to open up? Jacinda Ardern announces plan to SCRAP ...

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed New Zealand will scrap lockdowns when Omicron gets into the community after her Government offered a hint about when Australians could be allowed back.

The nation will move to code red alert setting as part of its Covid-19 protection framework once Omicron cases emerge, but the country will not go into lockdown

'Omicron is more transmissible. That is going to make it harder to keep it out, but also make more challenging to control once it arrives,' Ms Ardern said.   

'But just like before, when Covid changes, we change and we are in a solid position to do that with the data and evidence from the experience of other countries to make the best decision we can, based on what we're seeing elsewhere.' 

At code red, businesses will be allowed to remain open and domestic travel to continue, but included mask wearing and gathering restrictions to help slow the spread of the virus and keep pressure off the health system.  

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed there won't be lockdowns when Omicron hits the community

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed there won't be lockdowns when Omicron hits the community

It comes as pressure is growing for Ms Ardern to phase out New Zealand's border regime and the compulsory 10-day stay in hotel quarantine for all travellers, including citizens.

Places in quarantine, known locally as MIQ, are hotly contested - the government offers them in ballots, which are generally well over-subscribed.

And for the moment, they're off-limits.

Earning the ire of overseas-based Kiwis, Ms Ardern's government cancelled this week's MIQ room release due to a groundswell of Covid-19 cases, including the Omicron variant, at the border.

'There has been a 10-fold increase in positive Covid-19 cases at the border compared to December,' MIQ chief Chris Bunny said in a statement issued late on Tuesday night.

'We appreciate that this will be disappointing for many people wanting to come back to New Zealand. The government's strategy is to minimise the risk of Omicron in New Zealand as much as possible.'

To date, just five community Omicron cases

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