COVID-19: Auckland airport worker, household contact confirmed as Omicron cases

Genome sequencing has confirmed an Auckland Airport worker who tested positive for COVID-19 has the Omicron variant. 

A household contact of the MIQ worker, who tested positive on Tuesday, also has the variant. 

The Ministry of Health published a new location of interest relating to the cases on Wednesday night. 

Anyone who was seated inside Ara-Tai Cafe at Half Moon Bay on January 18 from 12:30pm to 2:00pm is considered a close contact and must isolate and seek a test immediately and five days after the exposure. 

People seated outside the cafe at the same time are considered casual contacts. They must self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days after exposure and if they develop symptoms, get a test and stay home until receiving a negative result. 

"Further isolation and testing requirements will be provided by Public Health," the Ministry said. 

Three Auckland nightclubs were listed as 'close contact' locations of interest on Wednesday. The locations are:

  • Family Bar and Club from 9.30pm on Saturday, January 15 to 12am on  Sunday, January 16. 
  • Longroom Nightclub Grey Lynn from 7pm on Saturday, January 15 to9pm.
  • AV Club Auckland from 6pm on January 14 to 5am on Saturday, January 15. 

It comes as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to reveal any changes to the country's traffic light system on Thursday afternoon. The Government is expected to keep much of the country in the orange setting. 

Ardern is also expected to reveal the Government's plan to battle the more infectious Omicron variant. 

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield previously said New Zealand is in a better position to deal with an Omicron outbreak than several other countries. 

"We are not as vulnerable as a number of other countries because we have very high vaccination rates… and a lot of that is quite recent," Bloomfield told Newstalk ZB on Tuesday. 

"In the meantime, the teams are working very hard to keep the virus out of the country for as long as possible."

New Zealand's vaccination rates are higher than many other countries with 93 percent of the eligible population fully vaccinated. And 95 percent  partially inoculated. Booster shots are also now available for people four months after their second dose. 

There were 24 new community cases and 56 border infections announced on Wednesday.