18 new community cases; 266 with Omicron at border since December 1

There are 18 new cases of Covid in the community and 43 picked up at the border.

Today's Ministry of Health release reveals that a total of 266 Omicron cases have been detected in MIQ since December 1, amid predictions it will be the dominant strain here within weeks.

During the same period, more than 18,000 people have arrived and been processed through Managed Isolation and Quarantine facilities.

There are 34 people with Covid in hospital today - two of those are in ICU.

The new community cases are in Auckland (11), Waikato (4), Bay of Plenty (1) and Canterbury (2). The Canterbury cases were reported yesterday but are being included in today’s official tally.

A Ministry spokesperson earlier said international evidence indicated transmission would occur rapidly and by mid-February, most people with Covid would have Omicron.

While Omicron appeared to be less detrimental to a person's health than Delta, the spokesperson said limiting demand on intensive care and ward beds, ventilators and health staff would be key in New Zealand's response.

Today's 43 new cases at the border came from Australia, Singapore, UAE, Fiji and the USA.

Yesterday there were 28 new community cases, with 13 in MIQ.

There have now been 11,254 cases in the current community outbreak and a total of 14,572 cases in New Zealand since the pandemic began.

There were 41,664 booster doses given yesterday - 45 percent of the eligible population have now received a booster shot - as well as 1421 first doses, 3595 second doses and 591 third primary doses.

 - with RNZ

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