Contact of worker with Omicron tests positive, 14 new community cases

A household contact of an MIQ worker with Omicron has also tested positive for Covid-19.

There are 14 new Covid cases in the community and 30 at the border to report in New Zealand today as the Government rethinks its plan on dealing with the highly transmissible variant Omicron.

Health officials are reviewing the current traffic light settings that were designed with Delta in mind because Omicron is a "different beast", Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said this morning.

Bloomfield told RNZ that the declining number of cases in the ongoing Delta outbreak showed that the traffic light system had worked well, but the system, based on vaccination certificates, was less suited to Omicron.

Working from home and lowering the number of people allowed at gatherings are all back on the table as the Government plans for an inevitable Omicron outbreak.

As of this morning, a total of 86 contacts have been identified in relation to the border worker with Omicron, including seven household and 79 close contacts, the Ministry of Health said in a statement this afternoon.

At this stage, 75 have returned negative test results and one a positive result. The worker was stationed at Auckland's Stamford Plaza.

From the exposure events linked to the MIQ worker, there were 10 people from the two bus journeys who were yet to be tested and were being followed up in person.

No other close contacts linked to this cluster have returned positive results, the ministry said.

Health officials continue to investigate the transmission route and testing of staff from the Stamford Plaza facility continues today.

The Ministry said its objective was to stamp out and prevent any onward transmission.

"We're reiterating our call for anyone who lives in Auckland with symptoms – no matter how mild – to get a test, even if you're vaccinated and to please stay at home until you return a negative test result."

The Ministry said the new community cases were in Auckland, Lakes and Wellington. 

Thirty people are in hospital today, including two in intensive care.

Thousand of kids get jabs 

Yesterday saw the Pfizer vaccine being made available to some of our youngest generation - children aged 5 to 11 -with 14,367 first doses were administered.

More than 500 sites around the country can administer the vaccine to this age group, with more coming online soon.

"We want to thank children, and the caregivers who supported them, who got their first dose yesterday. We encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated," the Ministry said.

New vaccine rules for police 

Police revealed today that they will be implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for all employees, contractors, volunteers, suppliers, new employees and visitors who work or enter police sites.

Everyone covered by the new policy will be required to have had their first Covid vaccination by February 11 and to have had their second by March 11.

Police said anyone visiting a station or police site to access essential police services, for example front-counter services and people brought to a station for services in relation to enforcement and operational activities - victims and witnesses - were exempt.

People held in police custody suites were also not required to be vaccinated.

 

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