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Covid-19: There are 82 close contacts of NZ's first Omicron case, in seven MIQs

Most of the contacts are in managed isolation in Christchurch, at Crowne Plaza and Chateau on the Park, but there are also some in hotels in Auckland.

There are 82 close contacts of New Zealand’s first case of the Omicron variant, most of whom are in managed isolation in Christchurch.

The case arrived in New Zealand on Friday on a flight from Germany via Dubai.

The person landed at Auckland International Airport and was transferred on a charter flight to Christchurch. They are now in quarantine at the Sudima Christchurch Airport Hotel.

Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the Ministry of Health’s intention is “to keep Omicron out” of New Zealand. (File photo)

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the Ministry of Health’s intention is “to keep Omicron out” of New Zealand. (File photo)

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said there were 82 close contacts of the case across seven managed facilities in Christchurch and Auckland.

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Seventy-five contacts were in Christchurch, with 44 in the Crowne Plaza and 31 in Chateau on the Park.

There were two close contacts at the city’s Sudima Christchurch Airport hotel, alongside the one case who tested positive.

Seven close contacts were at the Auckland managed isolation facilities SO/ Auckland, Naumi Hotel Auckland Airport, Novotel Airport, and Grand Millennium.

Speaking to Stuff on Friday morning, director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said some had already returned negative day five test results, but further results were expected later on Friday.

A case on the same flight had also tested positive for the Delta variant of Covid-19, Bloomfield said – a “coincidental” development.

Naumi Hotel at Auckland International Airport is being used as a managed isolation facility.

Chris McKeen/Stuff

Naumi Hotel at Auckland International Airport is being used as a managed isolation facility.

On Friday afternoon, the Ministry of Health said two further contacts had tested positive. Whole genome sequencing was under way to pin down which strain of the virus they had, and whether it was linked to the first case.

Bloomfield said he wanted to assure New Zealanders the managed isolation system had “served incredibly well in this country”.

Omicron was “quite a bit more transmissible than even the Delta variant” but New Zealand was in a “good position” due to its high vaccination rates, he said.

However, New Zealanders should be on “high alert”.

Bloomfield said he was closely monitoring the Omicron outbreaks in Europe and Australia and had suggested to ministers that New Zealand should reduce the six-month wait for a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine.

“Emerging evidence” revealed a third shot of the vaccine would provide 80 per cent protection against Omicron.

Bloomfield said he wanted the country to be as protected as possible before winter.

In Australia, for example, health officials had seen a “very big and quite rapid increase in case numbers”, he said.

New Zealand’s first case of the Omicron variant is in quarantine at the Sudima Hotel, near Christchurch Airport.

STACY SQUIRES/Stuff

New Zealand’s first case of the Omicron variant is in quarantine at the Sudima Hotel, near Christchurch Airport.

The United Kingdom saw more than 88,000 cases on Thursday, the highest since the pandemic started.

The total broke the record set just a day earlier, on Wednesday, when 78,000 cases were recorded.

“Our intention is to keep Omicron out of New Zealand.”

An early threat analysis from Professor Michael Plank, principal investigator at Te Pūnaha Matatini, predicted a peak of about 50,000 Omicron cases in a day if no one had received a third vaccine dose.

If 93 per cent of the population had received a booster, there would be a peak of just under 2000 cases, he said.

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