21 Dec 2021

MIQ room release cancelled due to Omicron situation

4:18 pm on 21 December 2021

The latest round of MIQ room releases has been cancelled due to the Omicron situation.

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(File image) Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The release originally scheduled for today was originally postponed until midday tomorrow, but has now been cancelled altogether.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says at this stage the next room release will occur on 6 January, 2022.

The delay was so the government could "carefully manage capacity as more travellers spend longer in MIQ, reducing availability," an earlier tweet from MBIE said, before it announced the cancellation.

Whole genome sequencing yesterday detected nine further cases of Omicron in international arrivals, taking New Zealand's total to 22 cases with the variant. No new cases of Omicron in MIQ were announced today.

The World Health Organisation has urged people to cancel some of their holiday plans to protect public health as the Omicron variant spreads globally.

Read more:

  • The Omicron Covid-19 variant: What you need to know
  • This afternoon, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced that Cabinet has decided to push back the self-isolation date for travellers from Australia from 17 January to the end of February.

    For those who had booked to come home to New Zealand from Australia from 17 January, the government would work with airlines to ensure some MIQ space was available.

    Hipkins acknowledges that decision will disappoint people, but says it will allow more time for the rollout of boosters which has been reduced from six months to four months.

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