Covid: 809 new southern cases, subvariant found

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
There are 809 new community cases of Covid-19 to report in the South today and 1 death in the region as the subvariant BA.2.75 has been found in New Zealand for the first time.

In a statement today, the Ministry of Health said nationally there were 9,629 new community cases, 24 deaths and 493 current hospitalisations.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 7,246, compared with 5,480 this time last week.

The number of publicly reported deaths with Covid now stands at 1,591 and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 15. 

"The rise in Covid-19 cases today is not unexpected as New Zealand moves towards the winter peak for respiratory illness, including Covid-19," the statement said.

"In addition, it is not unusual for reported cases to rise following a weekend."

The Ministry of Health has also announced that the Omicron subvariant BA.2.75 has been detected in New Zealand for the first time.

"At this stage, there is no evidence that BA.2.75 requires a shift in public health settings already in place to manage other Omicron variants."

On Friday afternoon, analysis of whole genome sequencing confirmed two cases in New Zealand with BA.2.75.

Before testing positive for Covid-19, both cases had recently travelled from India, where this subvariant has been detected, the Ministry said.

BA.2.75 is a recently identified second generation subvariant of BA.2, the dominant variant circulating in New Zealand at this stage.

BA.2.75 has only been recently identified as distinct from BA.2, and evidence on its transmissibility, immune evasiveness and severity is still preliminary and emerging.

"We do know BA.2.75 has some characteristics that looks like they may enhance its ability to evade immunity, similar to the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, and there is some early evidence overseas that it may be slightly more transmissible that BA.2.

"There is no current evidence that it leads to more severe disease, although assessing the evidence is at a very early stage," a statement from the Ministry said.

Of the people whose deaths we are reporting today, five were from Auckland region, three were from Waikato, four from Bay of Plenty, one was from Lakes, one was from Hawke’s Bay, one was from MidCentral, four were from Wellington region, four were from Canterbury, and one was from Southern.

Three were in their 40s, five were in their seventies, seven were in their 80s, and nine were aged over 90. Of these people, 14 were women and ten were men.


Covid-19 Cases in hospital: total number 493: Northland: 8; Waitematā: 101; Counties Manukau: 34; Auckland: 53; Waikato: 53; Bay of Plenty: 29; Lakes: 9; Hawke’s Bay: 16; MidCentral: 14; Whanganui: 7; Taranaki: 12; Tairawhiti: 2; Wairarapa: 7; Capital and Coast: 37; Hutt Valley: 6; Nelson Marlborough: 10; Canterbury: 59; South Canterbury: 7; West Coast: 1; Southern: 28.

There are 11 people in ICU with Covid-19. 




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