A surge of Covid cases at the border is more than double the number of new community cases being reported, amid predictions from top officials that a Omicron outbreak is expected to hit in two weeks.
Yesterday, 18 people were reported to be infected with the virus in the community on Friday, compared to 43 new cases picked up in managed isolation facilities.
Ministry of Health data showed the majority of cases popping up at the border were the highly contagious Omicron variant, with 266 cases detected in MIQ since December 1.
More than 18,000 people had arrived in New Zealand during that time period and had been processed through Managed Isolation and Quarantine facilities.
It comes after a ministry spokesperson told the Herald, on Thursday, international evidence indicated transmission would occur rapidly after an incursion and as soon as a fortnight, Omicron could be more common than Delta.
Meanwhile, on Friday morning, four downtown Auckland bars and nightclubs were identified as locations of interest and patrons were being told to self-isolate and get a Covid test immediately.
Danny Doolan's on Quay St, Round 6 Bar & Nightclub Auckland CBD, on Albert St, Saturdays Britomart, on Customs St East and AV Club were all named as locations of interest on either Friday last week or Wednesday this week.
The ministry urged people exposed to any of these locations to: "Self isolate, test immediately".
"Further isolation and testing requirements will be provided by Public Health," officials said.
The locations of new community cases reported on Friday were in Auckland (11), Waikato (4), Bay of Plenty (1) and Canterbury (2), the ministry said in a statement released on Friday afternoon.
Of the four Waikato cases, three were in Ngāruawāhia and one was in Huntly. All were linked to a previously reported case.
Meanwhile, 55 per cent of those eligible to get their booster shot were yet it receive it, the ministry said.
Health officials said they strongly recommending boosters for anyone over the age of 18 who had their second vaccine dose at least four months ago.
"Vaccination remains our key defence against all variants of Covid including Omicron."
On Friday, 34 people were fighting Covid in hospital, two of those were in ICU at Middlemore and Tauranga. Nine of those were unvaccinated or not eligible to be jabbed, five had one jab and nine were fully vaccinated.
Of those, four are at North Shore, eight are at Auckland City, 17 are at Middlemore, four are at Tauranga, and one is at Waikato.
While Omicron appeared to be less detrimental to a person's health than Delta, a ministry spokesperson said limiting demand on intensive care and ward beds, ventilators and health staff would be key in New Zealand's response.
As of Thursday, 65 per cent of intensive care/high dependency unit beds and 84 per cent of ward beds were occupied, with 18 per cent of ventilators in use. Only a small number were being used by Covid-positive patients.
However, there was the capacity to surge ICU bed numbers and DHBs had options to administer a range of oxygen therapies outside ICU.
The spokesperson said DHBs were undertaking "preparedness plans", including regional planning to share skills, resources and how to co-ordinate responses.
It is understood Auckland's DHBs have compiled a raft of international data over the past week and will be finalising aspects of their response in the coming days.