Covid-19: Six new cases of virus in managed isolation

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There are six new cases of Covid-19 to report in managed isolation – though it’s not clear whether any of those are the new UK variant.

Of the new cases, two arrived from the United Kingdom, one from the United States, one from Switzerland, one from South Africa and one from India.

So far, six cases of the recently indentified UK variant – which is up to 70 per cent more infectious than previous strains – have been reported in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ).

A young couple manage a kiss through their masks in the Auckland CBD during Covid-19 alert level four. (File photo)

David White/Stuff

A young couple manage a kiss through their masks in the Auckland CBD during Covid-19 alert level four. (File photo)

The new variant, known as B117, has a higher reproduction – or R number – leading to an increased rate of transmission.

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University of Auckland epidemiologist Rod Jackson said while other strains usually infected two to three others, the new type meant one person could infect three or four others.

From 15 January, anyone arriving from the UK and US will need to prove they’ve tested negative less than 72 hours before departing.

All of those returnees will also be tested within 24 hours of arriving back into the country and would be required to isolate until they get this test result.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said on Sunday that those with the new type were being treated the same as those infected with other strains.

In a statement, a Ministry of Health spokesperson said the new strain presented no increased risk to the community.

An MIQ spokesperson said robust processes were in place to prevent the spread – such as stringent PPE use – and these controls were in constant review as more is learned about the virus.

Sixteen previously reported cases of the virus have now recovered. The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 61, and the total number of confirmed cases is 1,830.

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