Covid-19 update: 173 new community cases in New Zealand; 78 people in hospital

covid-19-update:-173-new-community-cases-in-new-zealand;-78-people-in-hospital

There are 173 new community cases of Covid-19 today; with 78 in hospital including seven in ICU.

A Covid-19 testing centre sign in Whangārei.

File photo. Photo: RNZ / Nita Blake-Persen

Speaking at today’s media update, Director of Public Health Caroline McElnay said there was also one Canterbury case not included in today’s figures.

Of today’s cases, 154 are in Auckland, 15 in Waikato, one in Northland, two in bay of Plenty and one in Lakes DHB, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

There are also four new cases at the border.

There are a total of 7832 community cases in the current outbreak and 81 of today’s new cases are yet to be epidemiologically linked.

The ministry said there were also 180 new locations of interest.

On wastewater detections, Covid-19 was detected in a sample collected from Kaiwaka on 18 November.

“Processing of the sample began on 22 November, however, the result was delayed due to a technical issue. Testing is currently in progress for a further sample collected on 22 November,” the ministry said.

It said Covid-19 was also detected in a sample collected from Opononi on 23 November, believed to be linked to active cases in Hokianga.

“Anyone with symptoms – no matter how mild – is encouraged to get a test.”

There were 18,092 first and second vaccine doses administered in the country yesterday – 6319 first doses and 11,773 second doses.

To date, 92 percent of eligible people in New Zealand have had their first dose and 85 percent are fully vaccinated.

McElnay said the surge of Covid cases in Europe, with reports of 2.2m cases in the last week, reinforced the importance of vaccination.

More than half of all vaccinated New Zealanders now have their My Vaccine Pass, with more than 2 million passes issued by the ministry, she said.

Expect demand for the pass to keep increasing, you can now receive pass through the post or request them from specified pharmacies, she said.

Call centre capacity for passes has also been increased to meet demand, she said.

Earlier today it was revealed that there is the option for people to receive their pass through the post or they’ll be able to go to pharmacies to request their pass.

“Almost 400 pharmacies around the country currently providing Covid-19 vaccinations will now also be able to help people get their vaccine pass. Those 400 pharmacies can be found on the Healthpoint website.”

The government’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate has been extended to all sworn members, recruits and authorised officers of the police and Defence Force.

First doses of the vaccine for these workers are required by 17 January and second doses by 1 March.

A newly identified coronavirus variant that has spread in South Africa is causing growing concern in other parts of the world.

Britain is temporarily banning flights from South Africa, and Israel is restricting travel from the region.

And Portugal, which has one of the world’s highest rates of vaccination against Covid-19, announced it would reimpose some restrictions to stop a surge in cases.

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