The Ministry of Health has confirmed an Auckland Airport worker who tested positive for COVID-19 has the Omicron variant.
So far 66 close contacts of the Palmerston North Omicron case have returned negative tests, more results are expected tomorrow.
There are more protests planned around the country today by the Freedom and Rights Coalition, who are threatening to disrupt towns and cities across New Zealand.
The Ministry of Health is giving an update on the latest cases at 1pm
You can find the latest locations of interest here
What you need to know
Close contacts of the Palmerston North Omicron case has so far all tested negative, more results are expected tomorrow
The Auckland Airport worker who was suspected of having Omicron has been confirmed as having the variant, bringing the total number of cases in the city to five.
The isolation period for all COVID-19 cases has been extended from 10 days to 14 days and for close contacts it is extending from seven days to 14.
There are 43 new cases of COVID-19 in the community, with Auckland reporting 19, Waikato four, Lakes six and Hawke's Bay six.
Two people tested positive for the Omicron variant in Auckland - a triple-vaccinated worker at Auckland Airport and a household contact of the initial case, an MIQ staffer
These live updates are now over
4:30pm - South Auckland GP Dr Api Talemaitoga is accusing the Government of dropping the ball on rapid antigen test access, warning they're "not getting to frontline practice".
3:30pm - Samoa has announced a 48-hour lockdown from 6pm on Saturday until 6pm on Monday evening.
Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa said essential services will be allowed however offices, shops, churches and public transport will be closed.
The region has four new cases to report today, all are close contacts of people from the Hastings cluster. This takes the number of active cases in the region to 13.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Rachel Eyre said with COVID-19 cases increasing, she urged anyone with cold and flu like symptoms, no matter how mild and even if they were vaccinated, to get tested.
“We are working hard and continuing our investigations and informing any other close contacts to isolate and be tested."
Dr Eyre said people should continue to keep a close eye on the locations of interest reported on the Ministry’s website as more locations were likely to be added as public health official continued their investigations.
“In particular anyone associated with the Tu Step Fitness Class and who was there on the dates and times notified on the locations of interest page, must follow public health advice,” she said.
Drive-in testing centres and booked appointments are available and include:
- Splash Planet, Hastings, drive through 10am -1pm Saturday
- Whitmore Park, Napier drive through 10am -1pm Saturday
Saturday and Sunday
- Te Taiwhenua O Heretaunga Trust, Orchard Road, Drive through testing 9am-1pm Saturday and Sunday
To book a test:
- Hastings Health Centre open for booked appointments call to book between 8.30-5pm Saturday
- The Doctors Napier open for booked appointments call to book between 9-5 Saturday and Sunday
- Queen Street Practice Wairoa. For booked appointments daily call 06 838 8333.
Dr Eyre said vaccination was the best protection against COVID-19. Additionally, people eligible for their booster vaccination should get this done for an added layer of protection.
“People vaccinated against COVID-19 are far less likely to need hospital care if they get the virus.”
2:20pm - Vaccines by DHB
- Northland DHB: First doses (89%); second doses (86%)
- Auckland Metro DHBs: First doses (97%); second doses (95%)
- Waikato DHB: First doses (94%); second doses (92%)
- Bay of Plenty DHB: First doses (94%); second doses (91%)
- Lakes DHB: First doses (93%); second doses (90%)
- MidCentral DHB: First doses (96%); second doses (94%)
- Hawke’s Bay DHB: First doses (96%); second doses (93%)
- Wairarapa DHB: First doses (96%); second doses (94%)
- Capital and Coast DHB: First doses (98%); second doses (97%)
- Hutt Valley DHB: First doses (96%); second doses (95%)
- Nelson Marlborough: First doses (96%); second doses (94%)
- Canterbury DHB: First doses (99%); second doses (97%)
2:10pm - MoH cases update
- Seven day rolling average of community cases: 25
- Seven day rolling average of border cases: 41
- Number of new community cases: 43
- Number of new cases identified at the border: 41
- Location of new community cases: Auckland (19), Waikato (4), Lakes (6), *Hawke’s Bay (6), *Nelson Marlborough (8)
- Number of community cases (total): 11,466 (in current community outbreak)
- Cases epidemiologically linked (total): 8,715
- Number of active cases (total): 478 (cases identified in the past 21 days and not yet classified as recovered)
- Confirmed cases (total): 15,104
- Number of active contacts being managed (total): 4,879
- Percentage who has received an outbound call from contact tracers (to confirm testing and isolation requirements): 78%
- Percentage who has returned at least one result: 78%
2:00pm - MoH regional update
There are 19 new cases to report in Auckland.
Health and welfare providers are now supporting 725 people in the region to isolate at home, including 158 cases.
There are four new cases in Waikato to report today. All are in Hamilton and linked to previous cases
Public Health, primary care and manaaki providers in the region are supporting 22 cases to isolate at home.
Today we are reporting six new cases in the Lakes DHB region - all are in the Rotorua area.
All six cases are linked to previously reported cases.
All cases are isolating at home or in managed accommodation.
Today we are reporting six cases in Hawke’s Bay, including one which we initially announced in yesterday’s statement.
The five new cases are all linked to existing cases.
As investigations continue, more locations of interest may be added to the Ministry’s website.
1:40pm - Five flights have now been linked to the nine cases in the Nelson Tasman region reported yesterday and will be listed today as locations of interest.
An Air New Zealand crew member on the same Auckland to Nelson flight as the nine cases has now tested positive. This flight and four other flights the crew member worked on during their possible infectious period, prior to their testing positive, are now also listed as locations of interest. The flights are:
- Flight NZ 5083 from Auckland to Nelson at 5.20 pm on 16 January
- Flight NZ 5080 from Nelson to Auckland at 4 pm on 19 January
- Flight NZ 5077 from Auckland to Nelson at 2pm on 19 January
- Flight NZ 5049 from Auckland to New Plymouth at 7.50 pm on 19 January
- Flight NZ 5042 from New Plymouth to Auckland at 1.50 pm on 20 January
Air New Zealand report their crew member is fully vaccinated, and the positive case was found after the crew member felt unwell and was tested on top of the regular surveillance testing.
The flights are now listed as Locations of Interest on the Ministry’s website and advice to those on the flights is provided there. All those on the flights are in the process of being contacted and provided with advice.
Whole genome sequencing for the Nelson Tasman cases and the Air New Zealand crew member are expected later today.
The nine Nelson Tasman cases are all from one household.
1:37pm - There are 43 community cases in New Zealand today.
There have been 76 contacts identified to date linked to the Palmerston North Omicron case. All but two have been contacted and 66 have returned a negative result. Further test results will be reported Sunday.
The possible Omicron case reported yesterday is now confirmed as the Omicron variant. As announced yesterday the case was being treated as an Omicron case prior to this being confirmed.
The case has been potentially linked to returnees in Rotorua and Auckland through whole genome sequencing. This information will assist investigations to determine the source of infection.
There have been 32 contacts identified, around half have been contacted and tested.
As reported yesterday there has been one positive result reported in a household member and 16 other contacts have returned a negative result.
1:25pm - Here is a bit of Meat Loaf, who sadly passed away yesterday, to help pass the time as we wait for the MoH updates - which today aren't coming out like a Bat out of Hell.
1:10pm - We are expecting the latest update from the Ministry of Health any time now.
1:00pm - Police have confirmed they have arrested a 32-year-old male at the Christchurch protest but have not said what the charges are.
12:40pm - The protest in Auckland has now moved to Queens Street which looks to be closed off from traffic.
12:27pm - Entertainment site TMZ is reporting the singer Meat Loaf, who died age 74 on Friday, was seriously ill with COVID-19.
The site claims sources have told them the singer and actor had to cancel a business dinner for a show he was working on called 'I'd Do Anything For Love' because he was seriously ill with COVID-19.
Sources also told TMZ Meat Loaf has been vocal in his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine.
12:25pm - Kasper's Sports Bar in Rotorua has been named as a high risk location of interest for anyone who was there between 6:30pm and 8:30pm on Thursday January 18.
MOH advice is to self-isolate, test immediately and on day 5 after you were exposed at this location of interest. Further isolation and testing requirements will be provided by Public Health.
The full list of locations of interest is here
12:20pm - The UK Health Security Agency on Friday designated a sub-lineage of the dominant and highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant as a variant under investigation, saying it could have a growth advantage.
BA.2, which does not have the specific mutation seen with Omicron that can help to easily distinguish it from Delta, is being investigated but has not been designated a variant of concern.
"It is the nature of viruses to evolve and mutate, so it's to be expected that we will continue to see new variants emerge," Dr Meera Chand, incident director at the UKHSA, said.
The UK Health Security Agency on Friday designated a sub-lineage of the dominant and highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant as a variant under investigation, saying it could have a growth advantage.
12:00 - A Newshub reporter at the Auckland Domain says a lot of people are wearing Fee Tamaki t-shirts.
Brian Tamaki is currently in Mt Eden prison where he is remanded in custody until January 27 after his bail application was refused earlier this week.
Tamaki is facing multiple charges relating to the COVID-19 Protection Public Health Order and breaching bail conditions.
11:50am - Prominent microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles is "really worried" about the government's plan for an Omicron outbreak, warning the red traffic light setting will not be enough to slow the variant down.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday announced all of New Zealand would move to red within 24 to 48 hours of Omicron transmission being detected in the community.
Ardern ruled out using regional boundaries or lockdowns.
Dr Siouxsie Wiles - from the University of Auckland - told RNZ the traffic light regime would be less effective at managing Omicron given the variant's infectiousness.
"I'm really worried that the measures we have in place for red are just not good enough at stopping transmission."
Wiles said in the case of an outbreak, authorities should immediately shut down certain venues and activities.
Read the full story here
11:30am - The Freedom and Rights Coalition is holding a number of marches and rallies across New Zealand protesting against mandatory vaccination and what they see as an erosion of people's freedoms.
The event at the Domain has started and there looks to be around 1000 people there so far.
Other events are planned in Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Hastings.