Covid-19 Local Government Response Unit Update – Friday 28 January

Local Government Response Unit main page

Today’s update

Traffic light settings

New Zealand remains in the Red traffic light setting

Further info on the Red traffic light setting can be found here: Life at Red | Unite against COVID-19 (

Omicron in the community phases

A quick reminder of the three phases of managing Omicron in the community. Further information is available at the

  • Phase One – Stamp it out
  • Phase Two – Minimise and slow the spread and assist our vulnerable communities
  • Phase Three – Manage the outbreak

Things you can do to protect yourself at all phases:

  • Get your COVID booster shot
  • 5 – 11-year olds first vaccination
  • Continue to mask, scan, and pass wherever you go
  • Good hygiene, physical distancing and stay at home if unwell

January Omicron Cluster update

15 new Omicron cases reported today, taking the total to 105 cases of Omicron in the community.

Locations of Interest are published on the Ministry of Health website  as they are confirmed.

Testing update

Phase One -

Phase One of the response to Omicron means continuing with the same testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine settings. PCR testing is the most effective way of testing during Phase One. As case numbers increase, testing, tracing, isolation, and quarantine settings will change.

The Ministry of Health has increased PCR testing capacity to 60,000 tests a day with a surge capacity of nearly 78,000 a day.

Phase Two –

Work is underway to determine how organisations running critical services including local authorities can access RATs in Phase Two.

Critical workers identified as close contacts will be able to use proof of a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) to return to work during their required period of isolation if they are not symptomatic.

Critical Services

What are the critical sectors?

The criteria used to identify critical firms in sectors is whether they provide for:

basic human needs (food production, distribution, and sale; accommodation; health services, including services provided for deceased persons);

governance (including government decision making, MIQ and emergency services);

support systems and services (lifeline utilities, transport, critical financial services and social welfare);

maintenance of the above areas.

A critical worker is a in a role identified by an employer within a critical industry that

  • Requires a person with particular skills and
  • Must be performed in person at the workplace; and
  • must continue to be performed to:
    • Prevent an immediate risk of death or serious injury to a person or animal; or
    • Prevent serious harm (social, economic or physical) to significant numbers in the community

Critical Services Register and critical workers

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment is developing an online portal similar to the Business Travel Register. This will allow individual businesses to apply for Critical Worker status. The register will be up and running in 2 weeks.

This will identify and provide a register of New Zealand’s Critical Businesses to allocate Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) and other support to ensure the continued operation of the critical areas of New Zealand’s economy.

In the meantime, Government agencies have been identifying key organisations that will be proactively contacted over the coming days and invited to submit details of who they consider to be Critical Workers within their organisations.

How can we register as a Critical Service or Critical Worker?

MBIE is currently building a Critical Services Register, should Phase Two be activated

Once the portal is up and running it will allow individual business to apply for critical worker status

We expect this to be up and running in two weeks.

Under the current settings business may continue to operate in line with government regulations, the return-to-work system will only become necessary when and if New Zealand move to Phase Two of the Omicron outbreak. 

To support system wide planning, the Department of Internal Affairs is supplying MBIE with provisional data on critical services for the local government sector (for example, water and wastewater).  We will confirm the list of critical services by Tuesday 2 February.

How can I register?

More information will soon be provided on

Vaccination update

46,827 boosters were given yesterday

The total number of boosters administered is 1,256,583

13,112 paediatric doses given yesterday for 5- 11 year olds bringing the total to 150,409 total first doses

29 percent of 5- 11 year olds have now received their first dose

85 percent of active border workers that are now required to get a booster by 15 February, under the Mandatory Vaccinations Order have already done so.

Continued messaging on vaccine boosters

If you have had your second COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine four to six months ago, you’re eligible for your booster vaccine. The two vaccines and the booster offer the greatest protection against COVID-19 including both the Delta and Omicron variants

You can get your booster at walk in vaccination sites or book an appointment by phoning the COVID Vaccination Healthline 0800 28 29 26 (8am – 8pm, seven days a week. You can also book online at

More than 82 Percent of vaccinated New Zealanders will be eligible for a booster by the end of February 2022.

The booster for Astrazenica is also available for those who have received their second dose at least four months ago. The AstraZenica booster requires a prescription from either the vaccinating AstraZenica clinic or prior to your appointment from your preferred GP. Both visits to the GP and a prescription for the AstraZenica booster are free.

Pregnant people aged 18 and above who have received their second vaccine at least four months ago are able to receive the booster at any time during their pregnancy. These people are encouraged to discuss the timing of their booster with their midwife, obstetrician, or general practitioner.

Vaccination of Tamariki aged 5 – 11

Parents and care givers now have the opportunity to protect their tamariki against COVID-19. Tamariki will receive the Pfizer COVID-19 children’s vaccine..

Immunising these tamariki helps protect whānau whose health makes them vulnerable to COVID-19. The virus is unpredictable and while it generally has milder effects in children, with symptoms similar to a cold, some tamariki become severely ill and require hospitalisation.

You can also use to get immunised through your usual health provider, hauora, or GP. Make sure you select the appropriate age range. If you want to book for more than one child or are unable to book online, call the COVID vaccine hotline 0800 28 29 26 (8am – 8 pm 7 days a week).

In Aotearoa, New Zealand all vaccinations are free to tamariki under 12 years old. Some immunisation clinics may also offer other childhood immunisations such as MMR. It is okay to receive several vaccines at the same time.

Information on current cases, COVID-19 test sites and economic support       

There are 105 cases in the community today (including the 15 Omicron cases mentioned above) Omicron cases also total 105. Of these 76 are in Auckland, five in Waikato, one in Tairawhiti, nine in Bay of Plenty, seven in the Rotorua Lakes District, one in Hawkes Bay, one in mid-central, two in Nelson, and three in Canterbury.   

Available testing sites can be found on the Ministry of Health website: Available testing sites.

Locations of interest can be found at Locations of Interest. This is being updated as soon as information is available.

Economic assistance is available for those impacted by the lockdown, more information available on the COVID-19 website , including details of the Business Boost package.