Ministry result

COVID-19: Ministry of Health urges Kiwis to act as if Omicron is in their community

The Health Ministry also said Kiwis should monitor for COVID symptoms and get tested if they appear.

“Anyone with cold or flu symptoms that may be COVID-19 is asked to get tested and isolate at home until a negative result is returned.

“The most common early symptoms of the Omicron variant are a sore or scratchy throat and a runny nose. If you have these symptoms, get tested.”

Last week the government introduced stricter mask rules in a bid to slow the spread of the highly infectious variant.

Masks must now be worn in catering businesses, convenience businesses, events and gatherings. But there is an exception for drinking, eating and exercising.

The new rules also do not apply to swimming pools or non-public businesses.

Additionally, face coverings must be an actual mask, meaning bandanas, scarves, and t-shirts are no longer acceptable.

The change also affects workers who are mandated to get vaccinated, they must wear a medical mask – such as blue surgical masks, which are commonly used.

Children, from grade 4 and up, will now be required to wear masks on public transport, including school buses.

The changes will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on February 3.

New Zealand is currently in the red light, which means gathering limits and vaccine pass requirements are in place.