Here’s a quick round-up of the biggest updates from November 28 on the Covid-19 Delta outbreak, including the latest cases and details on locations of interest.
The announcement comes as health officials contend with news of the new, highly transmissible Omicron variant.
MARK TAYLOR / STUFF
Stuff spent an afternoon inside a contact-tracing engine room, to see how Covid cases are being tracked in the regions.
* Covid-19 variants will ‘haunt us’ while there are vaccine haves and have-nots
* Covid-19 vaccine boosters available from Monday
* Omicron variant of Covid-19 has ‘unusual but mild’ symptoms, doctor who raised alarm says
* Covid-19: Hawke’s Bay positive case picked up in routine testing at hospital ED
* Covid-19: 144 new community cases, one death announced in Delta outbreak
* Covid-19: Locations of interest in Delta outbreak – November 28
The variant has not yet been detected in New Zealand, but Australia is on high alert after two arrivals from southern Africa tested positive for Covid-19. Further testing is underway to see if they are carrying the variant.
Sunday’s case numbers include one announced on Sunday morning, a person in Hawke’s Bay who tested positive during routine screening at Hawke’s Bay Hospital.
In New Zealand there are new Covid cases in Auckland (127), Northland (two), Waikato (nine), Bay of Plenty (four), Hawke’s Bay (one).
As of Sunday, 82 people are in hospitals with Covid-19 across Auckland and Waikato, nine of whom are in an intensive care or high dependency care unit. Of those in hospital in the Northern region, 45 (60 per cent) were unvaccinated.
One new case of Covid-19 was detected in Canterbury on Sunday.
The case, which is being treated as a border case, is a child who has been isolating at home with family.
The Ministry of Health said the child travelled from Auckland to Christchurch on Thursday, November 25 on Air NZ flight NZ 8475 arriving in Christchurch at 10.50am.
Anyone who was considered a contact would be contacted directly.
“Unless you are contacted you do not need to do anything other than watch for symptoms and get tested straight away if you develop any symptoms of Covid-19.”
The child travelled from London to Doha on November 16, and from Doha to Auckland on November 18.
They left managed isolation last week and tested positive on their day 9 test while in-home quarantine.
Nine southern African countries have been added to New Zealand’s “very high-risk countries list”: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique.
From 11.59pm on Sunday, only New Zealand citizens will be allowed to enter from these countries. They will be required to stay in managed isolation for a full 14-day period and undergo testing.
Booster vaccinations will be available throughout the country from Monday.
While the priority was getting people fully vaccinated; healthcare, border workers and kaumātua who have been fully vaccinated for six months or more could now get their boosters, director-general Ashley Bloomfield said on Sunday in a statement.
“Vaccination is the best protection against Covid-19. Booster doses will be available free for anyone in New Zealand aged 18 or older who has completed their two-dose course more than six months ago,” Bloomfield said.
Across a world of vaccine haves and have-nots, the Omicron variant has sent a warning on how the virus can evolve and spread without more aggressive measures to expand vaccinations, a top South African scientist said Sunday.
“Until we vaccinate enough people we’re going to have this happen over and over again,” said Glenda Gray, head of the South African Medical Research Council, as global health agencies rushed to understand more about the new variant just days after it was first identified in South Africa.
Locations of interest
A gym in Hastings is the latest location of interest in the Hawke’s Bay region to be linked to the Delta outbreak.
Flex Fitness at 203 Eastbourne Street West, Hastings, was visited by a Covid case on November 23, between 6pm and 7.30pm.
Earlier on Sunday, an ice cream parlour, pharmacy and supermarket in Hawke’s Bay were named as locations of interest after a Covid-19 case was confirmed in the region on Sundaydiscovered in Hawke’s Bay.
Dixie Browns restaurant in Taupō was also listed by the Ministry of Health, for the period between 8.30am and 11am on Monday, November 22.
Anyone who was there at that time should self-isolate immediately and get tested, the ministry said.
Lick This Ice Cream Parlour in Napier was listed between 2pm and 3pm on Sunday, November 21.
Unichem Stortford Lodge Pharmacy in Hastings was named between 4.15pm and 5.15pm on Saturday, November 27.
Pak’nSave in Napier was listed on Thursday, November 25 between 8:30pm and 10:00pm.
Anyone who was at one of the Hawke’s Bay locations of interest should monitor for symptoms of Covid-19 and get tested if they develop.
When New Zealand first entered lockdown, amongst many other things, it seemed to have exposed a national fixation with KFC.
The fixation has caused car crashes, traffic jams and one Auckland councillor’s plea to capture the vaccine-hesitant by putting mobile jabbing posts in KFC car parks.
And, of course, in news which even reached the mocking attention of US talk show host Stephen Colbert, a couple of Auckland border-crossing crooks were caught with a car-bootful of chicken.