“Jacinda’s ‘Stage 1’ is just Delta 2, with any real response to Omicron yet to be announced, that will be called Stage 2, and Stage 3,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“As with Delta, Jacinda Ardern’s Government has required actual cases in the community to act on Omicron. Even then the details won’t be announced until Wednesday at the earliest.
“The Government is presenting spin over substance. ‘Stage 1’ is nothing but a placeholder because the Government is not ready. A prepared Government would introduce an Omicron appropriate response now.
“New Zealand’s great advantage through COVID is that our isolation allows us to watch each development sweep the world before getting here last. As with Delta, the Government appears to have learned nothing from watching other countries battle Omicron.
“We are going into Omicron with the same testing approach we’ve had throughout the pandemic. rapid antigen tests remain banned outside specific government programs, and the Government clearly does not have the stock. The Government should allow any New Zealander to import any of the 67 point of care tests approved by the Therapeutic Goods Authority in Australia immediately.
“We are going into Omicron with the same isolation rules as we had for Delta. The Government knows that these are unworkable and will announce new ones later in the week. We should be following the UK who let you leave isolation after two consecutive negative tests, except the Government banned rapid antigen tests, making that impractical.
“The Government is requiring everyone from nine-year-olds up to wear masks, despite evidence that this will do little to curb Omicron. If an N95 mask only works when properly fitted, according to Ashley Bloomfield, what is the point of an unfitted inferior mask? The Government should be able to present an evidence-based policy on mask use at this point in the global spread of Omicron.
“The booster rollout has not been targeted at those most vulnerable, and there is no measurement or reporting on who is most vulnerable and whether they’ve been boosted. The true demand on hospital capacity will not be defined by how many people are boosted, but how many vulnerable people are boosted.
“We are going into Omicron with the same home care regime as we had for Delta. The Government should be preparing to issue home care kits, including pulse oximeters and tests kits, in order that people can manage Omicron safely at home with minimal demand on the hospital system. This is also absent.
“We are going into Omicron with an illogical approach to the border. There will be tens of thousands isolating at home with Omicron, but Kiwis offshore will still be subject to the torture of trying to get an MIQ spot and suffering through it if they’re lucky.”