Omicron update

News article

17 December 2021

Whole genome sequencing has detected three further Omicron cases in recent international arrivals.

The cases arrived in Auckland from Dubai on December 11 and were transported to a Rotorua MIQ on a bus chartered for international arrivals.

One case travelled to Dubai from London, the second case travelled to Dubai from Spain and the third travelled to Dubai from Nigeria. All three then boarded the same flight to Auckland.

The cases are not linked to the first Omicron case reported yesterday.

After testing positive, the cases were moved to the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland where they are currently isolating.

As a precautionary measure, all passengers on the flights with the case are required to complete all ten days at a managed isolation facility – rather than spending the last three days of their isolation period in self-isolation.

The detection of further Omicron cases is not surprising given the rapid spread of Omicron internationally.

Our health and MIQ teams around the country have been planning for Omicron cases at the border, and will continue to manage all arrivals cautiously.

Our border settings means we are well placed to manage Omicron cases with isolation and testing requirements for all new arrivals, robust infection and prevention control and PPE measures at airports and MIQ facilities, and frequent surveillance testing of staff who have any contact with recent international returnees.

The vaccine remains our key defence against all variants of COVID-19, including Omicron. We continue to ask everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated, including people who are now eligible for a booster dose.

Further updates will be provided in the 1pm COVID-19 media statement tomorrow.

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