New Zealand said Tuesday it was pushing back its phased border reopening by about a month over concerns about the Omicron variant.
Explaining the decision in a statement, Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins said:
Waiting till the end of February will increase New Zealand’s overall protection and slow Omicron’s eventual spread.
There’s no doubt this is disappointing and will upset many holiday plans, but it’s important to set these changes out clearly today so they can have time to consider those plans.
Hipkins said New Zealand's Cabinet has agreed to a suite of other precautionary measures to keep Omicron out of the community. They include reducing the interval between a second Covid-19 vaccine dose and a booster shot from six months to four months and increasing the required length of stay for returning travelers from seven days to 10 days in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ).