SYDNEY, Jan 23 (Reuters) - New Zealand will impose mask rules and limit gathering from midnight on Sunday after a cluster of nine cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant showed community transmission from the North to South islands.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern said there had been transmission from Auckland to the Nelson area of South Island. A family travelled by plane from North Island to a wedding in the South Island attended by 100 people. The family and a flight attendant tested positive.

New Zealand would move to a red setting under its COVID-19 protection framework, with more mask wearing, social distancing and a cap of 100 customers indoors in hospitality settings, in an attempt to slow the further spread of the Omicron variant, she said.

Children above fourth grade will wear masks in schools, when the school year begins, she said.