ZB

6862 cases, 25 virus-related deaths; Ashley Bloomfield tests positive in Geneva

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 27 May 2022, 1:05pm
Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Photo / Mark Mitchell

6862 cases, 25 virus-related deaths; Ashley Bloomfield tests positive in Geneva

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 27 May 2022, 1:05pm

There are 6862 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today.

The Ministry of Health reported a further 25 Covid-related deaths.

There are 350 people in hospital with the virus, including 10 in intensive care.

Today's case numbers come as health officials confirmed Dr Ashley Bloomfield had tested positive for Covid while representing New Zealand in Switzerland at the World Health Assembly.

Bloomfield, who returned a positive result yesterday, was now self-isolating in Geneva meaning his return to New Zealand would be delayed.

He had been following all appropriate health precautions and was experiencing mild symptoms, said officials.

Today the Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced details about the second Pfizer jab, indicating hundreds of thousands of people would be eligible for the shot in coming months as winter approached.

It follows a recommendation from the ministry's vaccination advisory group that a second booster dose might be beneficial for those most at-risk of serious illness from the infection and with a gap of six months from their previous booster.

Older people, aged care facility residents, disability care residents aged 16 years and over, and severely immunocompromised people aged 16 years and over could be eligible.

The vast majority of this targeted group would be able to get their second shot from July.

It comes as a new Omicron variant emerged in the community in Hawke's Bay this week.

On Wednesday, health officials revealed the first case of Omicron sub-variant BA.2.12.1 in a community case, without a clear link to the border, from a test result returned earlier in May.

The subvariant is prevalent in the United States and had been detected at the New Zealand border for many weeks, with 29 imported cases reported since April.

The ministry said emerging data suggested BA.2.12.1 was marginally more transmissible than the subvariants currently circulating in New Zealand.

Genomic surveillance remained in place to study any new variants and track their spread.

Meanwhile, the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants had been detected in wastewater samples at Rosedale on Auckland's North Shore and in Gisborne.

"The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants are being monitored by the World Health Organisation; to date, compared to BA.2, there is clinical data to suggest an increased transmissibility but no data suggesting it causes more severe illness," said the ministry.

Officials said the vast majority of recently sequenced cases in New Zealand continued to be of the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, with small number of cases with the BA.1 sub-variant.