New Zealand’s Omicron outbreak continues to grow as the country desperately tries to suppress the highly infectious Covid variant, putting the nation in an increasingly isolated position.

While China is famously continuing its Covid-zero strategy, Australia’s antipodean neighbour is the last developed democratic nation still trying to keep Covid at bay.

On Saturday, the country recorded 97 new community-based Covid cases, down slightly from the day before. But only a minority of the cases are the Omicron variant, with 116 community cases in total so far confirmed as the more infectious strain.

As New Zealand stares down the inevitable, the ground appears to have shifted beneath prime minister Jacinda Ardern who has been widely praised for her management of the pandemic but is facing growing questions as the country continues to pursue a strict suppression strategy.

A New Zealand native returning home from living in Sydney has shared a bizarre video with Yahoo News Australia from inside hotel quarantine in Auckland.

The short clip, which she surreptitiously filmed, shows an outdoor area where travellers are allowed to walk around in a circle for 20 minutes at a time. Arrows on the ground guide the way.

“Some people are walking slowly, so you try to go around them … It’s really strange,” the woman told Yahoo.

The triple vaccinated woman, who wished to remain anonymous, expects to quarantine for 10 days.

“I’m on day three, I’ve only just been able to get outside now,” she said, joking that the exercise area looked like “some weird military operation”.

There was a smoking section near the walking arena, as well as an outdoor rooftop space that quarantining guests could book.

Those in isolation are called each day for “wellbeing checks” and delivered daily newsletters with crosswords, games and comics while the food is “pretty good”.

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