Covid 19: Confirmation of the first community exposure of Omicron in New Zealand, according to DJ Dimension
There have been 46 new cases of COVID-19 in the community today, according to the Department of Health. Video / NZ Herald
The person at the center of the Omicron community’s first fear in New Zealand is said to be an international DJ who was scheduled to perform at a popular summer music festival in New Zealand.
Stuff reports the person infected with the highly transmissible variant of Covid-19 as British electronic artist DJ Dimension – aka Robert Etheridge – who was due to cover Rhythm & Alps near Wanaka before abruptly withdrawing shortly before take the step.
Before heading south, he spent several hours in the community on Boxing Day – visiting a number of Auckland hot spots including a nightclub and bar, restaurants and a jewelry store.
The guest artist posted a photo taken on Christmas Day at an Auckland beach with two dogs. The festive photo, which has since been deleted from social media, was likely taken on the ninth day of self-isolation.
The message sends New Zealand Christmas greetings and thanks for an incredible year in which her album reached the top of the UK dance charts.
The recent arrival from the UK is the first person infected with Omicron who has been active in the community in New Zealand.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health confirmed this evening that the infected person did not wait for a negative test result before leaving the place where he was self-isolating.
A government spokesperson said at this point there were no plans to change Auckland’s switch to Orange as part of the protection.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins will address the media tomorrow at 11 a.m.
University of Auckland associate professor Siouxsie Wiles said it wasn’t the news that no one wanted.
“The person was out at a time when they were HIV positive, so there is a possibility that they are contagious. We obviously know that this variant is incredibly contagious, so I think we have to prepare for the worst,” she said. declared. the Herald.
“My worry is that we have New Years coming up. If people aren’t feeling well, they have to stay home and get tested. We really don’t want New Years Eve to be a super broadcast event. massive and it will be very difficult to control the cases then. “
The community exposure was announced just hours after 17 cases of Omicron were detected at the border on Wednesday – the largest daily increase since the variant arrived in New Zealand on December 16.
Experts said a total of 71 Omicron border cases reflects the explosion of cases in countries like Australia and the United States.
The Omicron case was active in Auckland’s CBD for more than 12 hours, visiting a number of establishments from the afternoon of December 26 until the early hours of December 27, including in the shopping district from the bay.
Party-goers who were at Impala nightclub on Shortland St from 11 p.m. on Dec. 26 to 3 a.m. on Dec. 27 are considered close contact and should self-isolate for seven to 10 days, the Department of Health said.
During the two days, the case also visited the Chinese restaurant Sunny Town, Partridge Jewelers on Queen St, Ahi Restaurant and Soul Bar.
People at these places of interest are considered casual contacts and are encouraged to watch for symptoms for the next 14 days.
The infected person arrived from the UK via Doha on December 16 and had returned three negative tests during his seven days of managed isolation at an Auckland facility.
But they returned a positive result on the ninth day of their self-isolation period, which was confirmed on December 27, and they were “immediately” transferred to an MIQ facility in Auckland the same day, it said. the Ministry.
“At this point, whole genome sequencing has been done and has confirmed the Omicron variant.”
Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said it was unusual for people to test positive on the ninth day and said there could have been transmission inside an MIQ facility.
“Another possible explanation could be that this was a historical case and no longer an infectious one, which would obviously be good news.”
The two priorities right now were contact tracing to control the outbreak and understand what had happened to make sure it didn’t happen again, Baker said.
The person is fully vaccinated with the mRNA vaccine, the ministry said.
So far, no other Covid-19 infection has been identified from the person’s flight and investigations are underway as to the source of the infection.
A number of close contacts have been identified, but those tested gave negative results.
On Wednesday afternoon, the organizers of Rhythm & Alps announced that DJ Dimension had withdrawn from the festival. He was scheduled to perform at the Cardrona Valley festival on New Years Eve.
The DJ is no stranger to the MIQ process in New Zealand, having also performed shows in the country earlier this year.
DJ Friction, who was also due to play Rhythm & Alps withdrew a few minutes later, posting on social media that he was “near a potential Covid case” and was told to isolate despite returning a negative test.
Hours later, New Zealand drum and base duo Lee Mvtthews also announced that they would not be performing at the festival.
“We have come into close contact with the new Omicron variant case and we will not be playing… because we have to isolate ourselves for the next seven days,” they said in a Facebook post.
“We take this situation very seriously and are taking a precautionary approach,” the ministry said.
“However, we do not believe the individual was highly contagious at the time of the above exposure events.
“We encourage all Aucklanders to regularly check the Places of Interest website and follow the advice provided.”
The ministry asked Aucklanders who were symptom-free and not in a place of interest to leave free testing resources for those in need.
Health officials said no exposure event had been identified from the person’s movements between the MIQ and the accommodation in which she stayed during the end of her period of isolation.
Just eight days ago, Hipkins announced a series of changes to keep Omicron out of the community.
This included extending the time spent in managed segregation for those returning from overseas from seven to 10 days.
Until recently, returnees could leave MIQ after seven days and isolate themselves at home for three more days.
“Bringing the last three days back to MIQ reduces the risk of the virus entering the community,” he said.
“With over 70 countries around the world reporting cases of Omicron and its high transmissibility, our plan is to prepare as much as possible by ramping up boosters and strengthening our border to keep Omicron out of the community for as long as possible. . “
Meanwhile, the ministry said it had done “everything” to prepare for Omicron.
“This included performing whole genome sequencing on each PCR sample taken from Covid-19 cases detected in international arrivals.
“The deployment of our vaccine remains our primary defense against all variants of Covid-19, including Omicron. “
From January 5, people will only have to wait four months – instead of six – since their last dose and will be able to access a booster dose at walk-in clinics.
Omicron at the border
There are now 71 cases of Omicron on the New Zealand border, after 17 were reported on Wednesday.
The genome sequencing process can take a day or two, the health ministry said, so not all new Omicron cases detected on Wednesday arrived overnight.
“The Omicron cases announced each day are not the same as those announced as new cases at the border,” a spokesperson said.
“The Omicron cases announced daily are the latest results on test samples on which ESR has performed whole genome sequencing.”
University of Auckland associate professor Siouxsie Wiles said the peak was to be expected, but could end up weighing on MIQ depending on the number of Omicron cases requiring hospital care.
She said the spike was a reflection of the Omicron outbreaks that hit countries such as the US, UK and Australia over Christmas.
Large numbers of infected returnees arrived from these countries – along with India and Qatar – between December 20 and December 26.
Coronavirus cases exploded across Australia on Wednesday, prompting Prime Minister Scott Morrison to schedule an emergency national cabinet meeting.
New infections in Sydney and surrounding areas of New South Wales state have skyrocketed to more than 11,000, while Victoria state also reported a record 3,700 cases.
In the UK, a total of 177,201 cases of Omicron were reported on December 28.
“Cases continue to rise in many places, unfortunately. They are doubling every few days in many countries,” Wiles said.
Epidemiologist Michael Baker said if Omicron’s cases peak too much, the government may need to take action to avoid “saturating” the MIQ.