Live UpdatesApr 23 2022

Two children under nine die with Covid-19

Two children under nine die with Covid-19

Apr 23 2022

Covid-19 latest: 19 deaths, including two children; first XE variant case at border

The Ministry of Health has reported 19 deaths with Covid-19, including two who were aged under nine. The numbers include people who have died over the past seven days.

The ministry did not provide any further details of the children who died. It reported only that of the people who had died, “two people were aged under 9; one person was in their 20s; four in their 60s; two in their 70s; five in their 80s and five people were over 90”.

Of the people whose deaths are reported today, one person was from Northland; six from the Auckland region; two from Waikato; one from Bay of Plenty; one from Whanganui; one from Taranaki; one from the Wellington region; one from Nelson-Marlborough; four from the Canterbury region and one from Southern.

Nine were male and ten were female.

Case numbers

There were 7,930 new community cases reported, with 494 hospitalisations and 15 people in the ICU.

Today’s seven-day rolling average is 8,475, while the seven-day rolling average of cases as at last Saturday was 8,283.

Border case with omicron XE variant

A person who has travelled from overseas to New Zealand has been confirmed as having the XE variant of omicron. This is the first known detection of the variant in New Zealand

The person arrived on 19 April, was tested on 20 April and whole genome sequencing subsequently confirmed the XE variant.

They are isolating at home.

XE has been spreading overseas and its arrival in New Zealand is not unexpected, the ministry said. At this stage, the public health settings already in place to manage other omicron variants are assessed to be appropriate for managing XE and no changes are required.

XE is a combination of BA.1 and BA.2 sub variants of omicron. There is some early evidence that it may be slightly more transmissible than BA.2, which is more transmissible than BA.1.

There is no evidence to date that XE causes more severe disease than other omicron lineages, noting that it takes weeks or months to identify the severity of each new variant.

Anzac Day reminder

The Ministry of Health has issued a reminder that if you are going away this Anzac weekend, you should have plans in place in the event you contract Covid-19 or are identified as a household contact of a case.

You would need to self-isolate and likely remain wherever you test positive or become a household contact, so there may be extra costs involved in paying for additional accommodation and changing your travel plans.

If you have used your own vehicle to travel, you can travel back to your home to isolate, taking public health measures to ensure you don’t infect anyone on your way home – such as maintaining physical distance and using self-service petrol stations

However, if you have used public transport or travelled between islands, you won’t be able to isolate at your home. So it is important you have a plan and the ability to isolate where you are holidaying, if you need to do so.