A case of Covid-19 detected yesterday in Palmerston North has been confirmed as the highly transmissible omicron variant.
In its 1.30pm statement, the Ministry of Health said whole genome sequencing returned a positive result for the omicron strain. The case became symptomatic on Wednesday and returned a positive Covid-19 test result on Wednesday evening.
“Whole genome sequencing has identified similarities to border cases identified in Auckland, but no direct links,” said the ministry. “It has not identified any links to cases in the Christchurch MIQ facility, suggesting that the source of infection is offshore – either in the country they travelled from or during travel to New Zealand – rather than transmission in the Christchurch MIQ facility where they stayed.”
This case was released on Sunday after returning a negative test result on five occasions throughout their stay.
They then travelled on flight NZ550 from Christchurch to Auckland departing at 2pm arriving into Auckland at 3.20pm. They then travelled on NZ5121 from Auckland to Palmerston North departing Auckland at 4.55pm. “The case is considered to be infectious from Monday 17 January, however if you travelled on either of these flights, as a precautionary measure, you are asked to get a test as soon as possible,” said the ministry.
An additional 23 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the community (the tail end of the delta outbreak) while 44 new cases have been detected at the border.
On the vaccine front: there were 37,967 boosters administered yesterday, bringing the total to 903,464, which is 54% of the eligible population. There were a total of 11,762 first doses of the paediatric Pfizer vaccine administered yesterday to 5 to 11-year-olds, bringing the total 51,639.