While New Zealand continues to avoid an Omicron outbreak in the community, the Australian state of New South Wales is reinstating COVID-19 restrictions.
NSW on Friday recorded 38,625 cases of COVID-19, up on 34,994 on Thursday and a dramatic increase from only recording about 150 cases a day in late November. The state has 1738 people in hospital and 11 new deaths.
It will bring in a number of new measures to limit spread, including postponing some major events, shutting down nightclubs and banning dancing in pubs.
There were 35 new community cases in New Zealand on Friday and 24 at the border.
What you need to know:
- There were 35 new community cases announced on Friday.
- 37 people in hospital, including three in ICU or HDU
- The Britomart Block Party on New Year's Eve is a location of interest between 11:15pm on December 31 and 2:30am and January 1
- Pre-departure testing requirements for entry into New Zealand will change with a requirement for a PCR test from 72-48 hours of departure.
- Travellers coming from places where a PCR test may be difficult can instead provide evidence of a negative rapid antigen test or loop-mediated isothermal amplification test result.
These live updates have ended.
3:20pm - TV host James Corden has tested positive for COVID-19.
The host of The Late Late Show told fans on social media he had just tested positive for the virus, which is infecting about 1 million people in the US every day.
3pm - Queensland on Friday recorded 10,953 new cases of COVID-19, meaning the Australian state now has 52,619 active cases. It has 313 people in hospital, 14 of which are in ICU.
Meanwhile, down in Victoria, there are 21,728 new cases and a total of 69,680 active cases. The state has 644 hospitalised people. Six people have died.
2:30pm - Eight further Wellington Phoenix football players have tested positive for COVID-19 in Sydney, Australia. That's on top of the two players and the staff member who tested positve lasy week.
It means the team's next two Isuzu UTE A-League men’s matches have been postponed as they can't field a squad for Saturday's round nine match against the Newcastle Jets in Sydney or next weekend’s 10th round match against Perth Glory.
"We have also asked Football Australia if the men’s FFA Cup semi-final against Melbourne Victory, scheduled to be played next week, can be pushed back," a club statement said.
"The club and A-Leagues protocols continue to be effective for screening and detecting the virus and ensuring immediate isolation.
"Our primary concern is for the health, wellbeing and safety of all players and staff. All positive cases are adhering to relevant state government health directives, in close consultation with the A-Leagues."
2:10pm - There are two new locations of interest:
- Muriwai Beach - Sunday, January 2 between 2pm and 7pm
- Britomart Block Party - Friday, December 31 at 11:15pm to Saturday, January 1 at 2:30am
1:55pm - An unvaccinated elderly couple battling COVID-19 in the US have died hand-in-hand within seconds of each other.
William and Carol Stewart, from New Hampshire, died in the state's Parkland Medical Centre late last week.
1:40pm - The regional update from the ministry:
Today, we are reporting 35 new community cases in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Lakes.
The Northland case reported yesterday has been reclassified as a historical case.
We are continuing to ask anyone in New Zealand with symptoms – no matter how mild – to get tested, even if you’re vaccinated. Please stay at home until you return a negative test result.
Testing and vaccination centre locations nationwide can be found on the Healthpoint website.
There are 18 new cases being reported in Auckland today.
Health and welfare providers are now supporting 1,052 people to isolate at home, including 268 cases.
There is one new case in the Waikato today. The case is in Hamilton and has been linked to a previous case.
A pop-up testing site is operating in Waihi and testing is available at Whitianga general practices.
For details of all dedicated testing sites operating over the holiday period, please visit Healthpoint, the DHB webpage or DHB Facebook page.
In the Waikato, Public Health, primary care and manaaki providers are supporting 45 cases to isolate at home.
There are three cases in the Lakes district. Two cases are in Rotorua, including a MIQ worker, and one case in Taupō. Two of the cases are contacts of previously notified cases and the source for one case is being investigated.
A Rotorua based MIQ worker tested positive on Wednesday and is currently in isolation. It is currently being investigated to determine if this infection originated from either the community or the facility. The worker is fully vaccinated and up-to-date with regular testing. The nature of their work means they do not normally have direct contact with returnees. The result from whole genome sequencing is expected later today.
The Ministry encourages anyone who lives in, or has visited, the Lakes district, particularly in Rotorua, with symptoms – no matter how mild – to get tested, even if you’re vaccinated and to please stay at home until you return a negative test result. The Ministry is also asking anyone in the region who is yet to be vaccinated to please do so now.
Testing and vaccination centre locations nationwide can be found on the Healthpoint website.
Bay of Plenty
There are 13 cases to report today in the Bay of Plenty. Twelve cases are in Tauranga and one case is in the Western Bay of Plenty District.
Nine of these cases are contacts of previously notified cases, and the source for the other four cases is being investigated.
The cases are a reminder for anyone living in or near the Bay of Plenty with symptoms – no matter how mild – to get tested, even if you’re vaccinated and to please stay at home until you return a negative test result.
Details on testing centres in the Bay of Plenty are available on the Healthpoint website.
1:35pm - The key figures from the Ministry of Health:
The vaccine remains our key defence against all variants of COVID-19, including Omicron. We continue to ask everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated, including people who are now eligible for a booster dose.
In the past 24 hours, 43,219 booster doses, 1,378 first doses and 4,081 second doses were administered.
COVID-19 vaccine update
- Vaccines administered to date (percentage of eligible people): 3,978,510 first doses (95%); 3,866,935 second doses (92%); 30,780 third primary doses; 423,710 booster doses
- Vaccines administered yesterday: 1,378 first doses; 4,081 second doses; 875 third primary doses and 43,219 booster doses.
- Māori (percentage of eligible people): 501,343 first doses (88%); 464,541 second doses (81%)
- Pacific Peoples (percentage of eligible people): 270,050 first doses (94%); 259,340 second doses (90%)
Vaccination rates by DHB with active cases (percentage of eligible people)
- Northland DHB: First doses (89%); second doses (85%)
- Auckland Metro DHBs: First doses (98%); second doses (96%)
- Waikato DHB: First doses (94%); second doses (91%)
- Bay of Plenty DHB: First doses (94%); second doses (90%)
- Lakes DHB: First doses (92%); second doses (88%)
- Taranaki DHB: First doses (93%); second doses (90%)
- Tairāwhiti DHB: First doses (91%); second doses (86%)
- Hawke’s Bay DHB: First doses (95%); second doses (91%)
- Canterbury DHB: First doses (98%); second doses (96%)
Cases in hospital: 37; North Shore: 4; Auckland: 14; Middlemore: 13, Tauranga: 5; Waikato: 1
Vaccination status of current hospitalisations (Northern Region wards only): Unvaccinated or not eligible (11 cases / 37.9%); partially immunised <7 days from second dose or have only received one dose (7 cases / 24.1%); fully vaccinated at least 7 days before being reported as a case (10 cases / 34.5%); 1 unknown (3.4%).
Average age of current hospitalisations: 53
Cases in ICU or HDU: 3 (2 in Middlemore and 1 in Tauranga).
- Seven day rolling average of community cases: 32
- Number of new community cases: 35
- Number of new cases identified at the border: 24
- Location of new community cases: Auckland (18), Waikato (1), Bay of Plenty (13), Lakes (3)
- Number of community cases (total): 11,022 (in current community outbreak)
- Cases epidemiologically linked (total): 8,315
- Number of active cases (total): 1,068 (cases identified in the past 21 days and not yet classified as recovered)
- Confirmed cases (total): 14,150
- Number of active contacts being managed (total): 5,257
- Percentage who have received an outbound call from contact tracers (to confirm testing and isolation requirements): 82%
- Percentage who have returned at least one result: 79%
- Number of tests total (last 24 hours): 16,236
- Tests rolling average (last 7 days): 11,271
- Auckland tests total (last 24 hours): 7,758
No unexpected detections.
NZ COVID Tracer
- Poster scans in the 24 hours to midday yesterday: 2,589,761
- Manual diary entries in the 24 hours to midday: 45,820
My Vaccine Pass
- My vaccine pass downloads total: 4,675,518
- My vaccine pass downloads (last 24 hours): 16,823
1:30pm - There are 35 new cases in the community and 24 cases at the border. The community cases are found in Auckland (18), Waikato (1), Bay of Plenty (13) and Lakes (3).
12:40pm - The 1pm COVID-19 update is coming up. However, it is worth noting that the update on Thursday didn't come in until about 2:30pm. There is no update expected on Saturday, so the next one, following Friday's, will be on Sunday.
12:25pm - The Ministry of Health says there is no truth to claims that a law has been passed to specifically allow doctors to decide whether to euthanise COVID-19 patients.
Many of the posts share a screenshot of a headline from the Gateway Pundit, which reads, 'New Zealand Government Approves Euthanasia for COVID Patients.'
12:10pm - There have been three new locations of interest so far on Friday:
- Majestic Tea Bar Tauranga Crossing - Wednesday, December 29 between 9am and 3pm
- Majestic Tea Bar Tauranga Crossing - Thursday, December 30 between 9am and 3pm
- RCADE Tauranga Crossing Tauriko - Friday, December 31 between 12:15pm and 12:45pm
12pm - Kia ora and welcome to Newshub's live updates.
New South Wales is reportedly about to reinstate COVID-19 restrictions as its Omicron outbreak continues to grow out of control. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, NSW will shut nightclubs, ban singing and dancing at pubs, and postpone some major events and elective surgeries. These actions are not being considered a "lockdown" but "safety measures".
It comes as the state on Friday recorded 38,625 cases of COVID-19. There are 1738 people in hospital there.