Omicron Update: Good News for Northland, But Concerns Remain

Hospitality and accommodation venues across Northland are welcoming Kiwis back to the region with the switch to the orange traffic light system at midnight. The whole country will move to the Red Light system if there is an outbreak of Omicron in the Community.

Over in Australia, where Omicron case numbers are rapidly increasing, business owners are struggling to help support staff with many employees needing to isolate at home because they have either caught Omicron or are a close contact of someone who has. The lack of government support has made the situation dire when it comes keeping staff employed and providing them with sufficient sick leave entitlements.

Businesses across the ditch are also struggling to get hold of rapid antigen tests that are vital to help the containment of the virus.

Here, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised that rapid antigen tests will be freely available and will be used more widely with tens of millions of tests on order. There are currently 4.6 million tests in the country, and as she unveiled the Government's plans to tackle a potential outbreak of Omicron in the community, Ardern said testing for Covid-19 would continue to be free and that there would be a greater focus on rapid antigen testing.

Health experts have said rapid antigen tests will be a critical tool for managing Omicron in New Zealand and that the country could potentially need hundreds of thousands of tests to meet demand.