ZB

24 community cases before Cabinet meets; Big Gay Out canned

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 19 Jan 2022, 12:17pm
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

24 community cases before Cabinet meets; Big Gay Out canned

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 19 Jan 2022, 12:17pm

There are 24 Covid-19 cases in the community - the last data Cabinet ministers will consider before meeting this afternoon to discuss current traffic light settings. 

There are 56 new cases detected at the border. 

The MIQ worker's household contact who returned a positive test yesterday is isolating at home. 

Two other household contacts are symptomatic but returned negative tests yesterday. 

The border worker's co-worker who is symptomatic remains in MIQ and has returned a further negative test. 

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins is set to hold a press conference at 2.45pm to explain why the latest MIQ room release was unexpectedly postponed last night to the dismay of thousands of stranded Kiwis. 

The Ministry of Health is set to release its latest update in a statement at 1pm today. 

Yesterday there were 14 new community cases but 30 cases of Covid-19 detected at the border. 

There were 30 people in hospital with just two in intensive care. 

Meanwhile one of Auckland's largest gay pride festivals has been canned this year in light of the rapidly unfolding Omicron threat. 

Today the organisers of the Big Gay Out announced they had taken the difficult decision to cancel the outdoor festival, saying the communication from the Prime Minister in recent days meant they had a duty to take a cautious approach to holding events given the health and safety of their communities lay at the heart of their work. 

Cabinet will meet for the first time of the year today at 4pm to discuss an array of Covid-19 matters but the most anticipated will be the review of the current traffic light settings. 

The outcome will be announced tomorrow as Labour MPs gather in New Plymouth for a New Year caucus get-together. 

Northland is the only region to remain under red restrictions while the rest of the country is at orange. 

Overnight it was announced that the upcoming MIQ room release was postponed as the Omicron variant loomed on New Zealand's doorstep. 

In a statement, head of MIQ Chris Bunny said there had been a tenfold increase in positive Covid-19 cases at the border compared to December. 

Yesterday, director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield indicated that more restrictions were likely to be put in place as the country prepared for the inevitable Omicron outbreak. 

Bloomfield said Omicron was a "different beast" from Delta. 

Working from home and lowering the number of people allowed at gatherings were all back on the table, but he said the health response wouldn't necessarily be around more lockdowns. 

Meanwhile, health authorities are chasing up 10 people on a bus who had been deemed close contacts of the current MIQ Omicron case but were yet to be tested. It came as revelations of a household contact of the border worker had tested positive for Covid-19. 

An investigation into how an Auckland MIQ worker became infected with Omicron is continuing as the Government moves to stamp out the virus before it sparks a summer outbreak. 

The infected MIQ worker, who is based at Auckland's Stamford Plaza and is fully vaccinated, tested positive for Covid-19 last week during surveillance testing. It was later confirmed they had the Omicron variant. 

The Health Ministry said an investigation into the transmission route and testing of staff from the facility continued.