With only two more sleeps until Christmas the number of fresh Covid-19 infections remains relatively steady, but a new case reported in the Capital yesterday has sent shock waves across the region.
On Wednesday 56 Covid-19 cases were reported in the community nationwide and six cases of Omicron were detected at the border.
The Ministry of Health confirmed the new Wellington case was in the Hutt Valley area and had an established link to the Lakes DHB area.
Lower Hutt mayor Campbell Barry said he understood the new locations of interest would be unnerving for people, especially for those finishing their Christmas shopping.
“It’s clear we have Covid in our community in Lower Hutt and that will be unsettling for a lot of people, but we are prepared for this and have worked really hard to get high vaccinations rates across the Hutt Valley.
Stores in Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt and Naenae were identified as locations of interest and the ministry asked people to check for further updates.
Since the Auckland border opened, they are the first locations of interest announced in the Wellington region.
Upper Hutt mayor Wayne Guppy said the locations of interest were a warning not to be complacent.
“As a community, everyone hopes that it’s not going to spread, but the reality of it is it was going to come to communities around the country.”
Guppy said his council’s controversial decision to not require vaccine passes for entry to its facilities would be reviewed in light of the location of interest in Upper Hutt.
Meanwhile, the recent New Zealand returnee who self-discharged from Middlemore Hospital on Monday along with their child has voluntarily returned to an MIQ facility.
“The child, who had been taken to Middlemore with their parent as they were too young to be left unattended in managed isolation, has also returned.”
The pair returned to the MIQ facility on Tuesday night and yesterday had seven days of their isolation still to complete.
The six new cases of Omicron detected in recent returnees in MIQ has taken the total number of international arrivals to New Zealand with the Omicron variant to 28.
“Health and MIQ teams have been carefully planning for Omicron cases at the border and will continue to manage all arrivals cautiously,” the Ministry of Health said.
“This includes isolation and testing requirements for all new arrivals, robust infection and prevention control and PPE measures at airports and MIQ facilities, and frequent surveillance testing of staff who have any contact with recent international returnees.”
Covid-19 was detected in wastewater samples on December 20 from Hutt Valley, Napier, Whitianga, Dargaville and Gisborne.
The ministry also clarified that people could get the new shortened four-month booster vaccine shot at walk-in vaccination centres from January 5 and bookings could be made on BookMyVaccine from January 17.
“Anyone who is more than six months post their second vaccination is advised to get their booster shot now.”
Parents and caregivers will be able to book vaccinations for 5 to 11-year-olds from January 17.
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