Queenstown, West Coast locations flagged

The Ministry of Health has revealed new Covid-19 locations of interest on its website this evening which includes places in Queenstown and Hokitika, on the West Coast.

The new locations listed at 6pm of the ministry's website were:

  • Shotover Jet Queenstown - Tuesday 11 January (9:45 am - 11:25 am)
  • Frankton Beach Playground - Tuesday 11 January (11:00 am - 3:00 pm)
  • New World Hokitika - Sunday 16 January (7:30 pm - 8:00 pm)

Locations announced at weekend

Queenstown and Arrowtown also has Covid-19 locations of interest announced at the weekend.

The ministry advised on Saturday that anyone who had been at a location of interest during the specified times needed to monitor themselves for Covid-19 symptoms for 10 days after exposure.

If symptoms developed, people were to get tested and stay home until a negative test result was returned.

Remarkable Sweet Shop, in Arrowtown, was visited last Monday between 1pm and 1.20pm.

Customers at @Thai Restaurant Queenstown, in Church St, were advised of a potential exposure on the same day between 9pm and 10pm.

Finally, Queenstown Airport was visited between 4pm and 9pm on Tuesday.

All were considered casual contact events.

Queenstown Airport Corporation acting chief executive Andrew Williamson reiterated ministry advice for those at the airport during the five-hour window of potential exposure last week.

The airport was operating under the Orange setting in the traffic light system and was following ministry guidelines for airport terminals, he said.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said the district had prepared to meet challenges posed by Covid-19 and it was expected locations of interest would crop up.

‘‘This is exactly what we thought might happen,’’ Mr Boult said.

There had been communication with the Southern District Health Board before Christmas to ensure testing and isolation capacity was sufficient and that people could be transferred out of town if necessary, he said.

University of Otago epidemiologist Prof Michael Baker said New Zealand’s experience with the Delta variant of the virus had been remarkable.

There had been a steady decline in cases and hospital admissions in the current outbreak for eight weeks.

Most of the Delta variant’s lines of transmission in New Zealand had been stamped out, Prof Baker said.

‘‘That certainly is the case in the South Island.

‘‘And that’s telling us it can be eliminated.’’

Meanwhile, it was confirmed yesterday that an infected managed isolation and quarantine worker in Auckland, who had been in the community in Auckland, was infected with the newer, more contagious Omicron variant.

The ministry released seven locations of interest including two bus trips that were identified as high-risk.

Prof Baker would not be drawn on which variant would be detected in the Southern region first, but he said the consensus was that Omicron would spread very widely at some point in the next few months.

Without a change to the current planning, the borders would be opened progressively from after next month.

The variant would, under those circumstances, arrive rapidly and spread rapidly, he said.

The World Health Organisation estimated Omicron would infect half the people in Europe over the next two months, he said.

If the virus spread that rapidly here it would overwhelm the country’s contact tracing.

‘‘It’s so unpredictable with Omicron. The problem we’ve got at the moment is that we’ve got over 300 active cases sitting in MIQ; we’ve never had a fraction of that number before.

‘‘Really given how infectious it is, just on the balance of probability, we’re going to get an outbreak fairly soon.

‘‘I don’t think anyone can get more precise than that; you can’t predict the future.’’




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