Covid-19 Local Government Response Unit Update – Wednesday 26 January 2022

 Local Government Response Unit main page

Today’s update

Traffic light settings

All of New Zealand remains in the Red traffic light settings

Red traffic light settings can be found here: Life at Red | Unite against COVID-19 (

Changes to masks and their usage

Yesterday, 25 January, the Prime Minister announced changes to masks and their use. These changes will come into effect on 11:59pm Thursday 3 February 2022.

Face coverings are now required to be an actual mask- this means that scarves, bandannas, t-shirts pulled up over the face will no longer be acceptable.

Masks must be also be worn at food and drink businesses, close proximity businesses, events and gatherings. There is an exception for eating, drinking, and exercising.

Ensure that your mask is designed to cover your nose and mouth properly.

All workers who are legally mandated to be vaccinated must now also wear a medical grade mask (for example a Type IIR/Level 2 masks or above while working in public facing roles.

Children from year 4 and up are now required to wear masks on public transport, including school buses.

LGNZ Webinar

LGNZ is hosting a webinar this afternoon for Mayors and Chairs as a follow up to the Taituarā meeting with CEs last week. We will look to share information from this as soon as it is available.

Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT)

The government will use Rapid Antigen Tests to help critical work places, businesses and supply chains to stay open.

January Omicron Cluster update

15 new Omicron cases reported today, taking the total to 56 cases of Omicron in the community.

These cases have all been linked directly, or indirectly to a family event and other associated events in Auckland on the weekend 15-16 January 2022.

At this stage it is believed that the Nelson-Tasman family associated with this cluster became infected while in Auckland, not in the Nelson- Tasman region.

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

Omicron in the community Phases – attached factsheet

Today, the Government has announced three phases of managing Omicron in the community this is found at the Ministry of Health website. These phases are designed to manage the response to the growing threat of the Omicron variant:

  • 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

Testing update

Phase one of the response to Omicron means continuing with the same testing, tracing isolation, quarantine settings as used before.

However, it is important to note that as case numbers increase, testing, tracing isolation, quarantine settings will change.

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

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, which can be sustained for seven days.

Once Omicron is more widespread in the community, RATs will be more common in the government’s testing strategy.

There are currently 4.6 million RATs in the country, with an additional 83 million on order.

Omicron and Business Continuity Planning

Omicron has emerged as the dominant COVID-19 variant around the world. The majority of cases detected at the border are Omicron cases.  

This has seen less severe clinical outcomes, but significantly higher rates of transmission.  Given the higher rates of transmission, it is expected that if Omicron makes it into the community, we expect to see case numbers double every 2-3 days. This is consistent with international trends.

Many people will be affected, and workplaces will have high levels of staff on sick leave or isolation (as high as 25%). This means that council Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) are critical should an outbreak of Omicron occur in the community.

Central government agencies are considering a range of options including additional protection in the event of an Omicron outbreak. We anticipate that these can be implemented within the existing framework. 

Vaccination update

56,899 boosters were administered on Tuesday, this is the highest daily number so far.

More than 73 percent of people over 65 have now received their booster.

Every DHB is currently on track to complete their booster programmes in Aged Residential Care facilities within the next week.

The total number of boosters administered is 1,110,408. 

Yesterday was also a record for paediatric doses, where 15,102 doses were administered.

93 percent of eligible New Zealanders are now fully vaccinated.

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 in other languages and alternate formats

Information on a variety of COVID-19 issues is available in 27 languages and 4 alternate formats formats on the Unite Against COVID-19 website. This includes key information on:

  • Life at Red
  • Getting your booster dose
  • Protecting your tamariki from COVID-19
  • Variants of COVID-19
  • Locations of Interest
  • Travel around New Zealand
  • The COVID-19 virus and symptoms
  • Wearing a face covering
  • Testing
  • Support for you if you get COVID-19
  • Support for individuals and families

Posters and Resources

There are a number of resources available to download through the online platform Toolkit COVID-19 Resource Toolkit ( These have also been translated into 27 languages which can be found here.

Help your workforce stay safe from COVID-19 over summer

The Ministry of Health has published guidance and to help you prevent or minimise the spread of COVID-19 during what can be a busy social period.

Help keep your people safe and well by sharing COVID-19 key summer health messages through your normal communications with your community.

Download key messages for summer or read more at Ministry of Health | Health guidance for summer

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

There are 23 cases in the community today (including the Omicron cases mentioned above. Of these one is in Northland , 12 in Auckland, three  in Waikato, five in the Lakes District, one in Wellington, and three in Nelson-Marlborough   

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.