The New Zealand government has backtracked on travel plans in a bid to slow down the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told reporters on Tuesday cabinet had agreed to “a suite of precautionary measures”.
One of those measures was reducing the booster shot from six months after the second dose of vaccine to four months.
The date for New Zealanders to return home from Australia has also been pushed back from January 17 to the end of February.
“So that we accelerate the rollout of that booster program and can have as many people boosted with the vaccination before we have people isolating at home across the international border,” Mr Hipkins said.
“We know that this delay will be disappointing news for those who have booked travel or were expecting arrivals from Australia but with the march of Omicron and NSW now expecting to be recording 25,000 cases a day by the end of January opening the border in mid-January, as planned, simply presents too high a risk at this point.”
The measures were a precaution as it was still unclear how sick Omicron makes people and the impact it had on health systems was not yet fully understood, he said.
New Zealand also said the length of stay in quarantine facilities would be increased from a week to 10 days.
The pre-departure test requirement to enter New Zealand was reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours before travel.
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