ZB

24 Covid deaths and 8638 new cases over past two days

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 25 Jun 2022, 1:06pm
New Covid-19 Response Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall has warned lockdowns could be used in future if problematic new variants emerge, but only as a last resort. (File photo / Mark Mitchell)
New Covid-19 Response Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall has warned lockdowns could be used in future if problematic new variants emerge, but only as a last resort. (File photo / Mark Mitchell)

24 Covid deaths and 8638 new cases over past two days

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 25 Jun 2022, 1:06pm

Twenty-four people have died with Covid and there are 8,638 new community cases of Covid-19.

Today's announcement by the Ministry of Health includes new cases, along with deaths, for the past two days after they weren't released yesterday as the country celebrated its first Matariki public holiday.

Daily cases have been hovering around 5000 this week; there were 5285 new cases on Thursday, 5499 on Wednesday and 5630 on Tuesday.

The seven-day rolling average of new community cases on Thursday was 4817, down by just over 600 on the week before.

More than 33,000 people were considered to be active community cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, but health officials suspected around one-third of all cases were not being reported.

Three hundred people were in hospital with the virus, including five in intensive care. The 12 new deaths announced on Thursday took the overall publicly reported Covid-19 death toll in New Zealand since the pandemic began to 1431.

Meanwhile, the rate of hospitalisations because of severe acute respiratory infection (Sari) have been increasing for the past six weeks, and was higher than previous years for this time of year, the Ministry of Health said in a statement, prompting a reminder to get vaccinated against the flu.

About nine people per 100,000 were being hospitalised with Sari.

"Influenza is the most commonly detected virus in the week ending 19 June. The Ministry of Health would like to remind people who haven't yet had their flu vaccine this year to get vaccinated as soon as they can."

With many going away for the Matariki long weekend, the ministry also reminded travellers to have a plan in case they contract Covid-19 or are identified as a household contact.

"You would need to self-isolate and likely remain wherever you test positive or become a household contact, so there may be extra costs involved in paying for additional accommodation and changing your travel plans."

Only those who used their own vehicle to travel could return home to isolate. Anyone relying on public transport or travelling between islands is required to isolate in place.

As the outbreak's long tail continued into winter, health bosses were looking at ways to deal with possible future mutations of Covid-19.

It was likely a new Covid-19 variant of concern would emerge within weeks or months, the Ministry of Health said.

As a result, a new "variants of concern" strategic framework had been developed, director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said at Wednesday's briefing to new Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall.

The new plan had five scenarios outlining the severity and immune-escape characteristics of various possible variants.

A worst-case scenario would involve a highly transmissible variant also capable of evading immune responses, and the Government couldn't rule out the return of lockdowns as a last resort to combat future Covid variants.

But lockdowns and border closures would only be used as a last resort, Verrall said.

"All measures have to be proportionate and justified, in accordance with our laws."