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New Zealand Won’t Resort to Lockdowns to Combat Omicron

Pedestrians walk past cafes and restaurants in Auckland, New Zealand.

Pedestrians walk past cafes and restaurants in Auckland, New Zealand.

Photographer: Brendon O'Hagan/Bloomberg

New Zealand will tighten Covid-19 restrictions when the omicron variant hits but won’t resort to lockdowns, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

When omicron starts to spread in the community, the country will move to “red” from “orange” in its Covid protection framework, which will see gathering limits of 100 imposed on events, social distancing in hospitality venues and greater use of face masks, Ardern told reporters Thursday in New Plymouth. However, “we won’t use lockdowns,” she said.