Queenstown, Arrowtown locations reported | Otago Daily Times News Online

Queenstown and Arrowtown were among the Department of Health’s new Covid-19 sites of interest over the weekend.

The ministry advised on Saturday that anyone who had been in a place of interest during the specified hours should monitor themselves for symptoms of Covid-19 for 10 days after exposure.

If symptoms developed, people were told to get tested and stay home until a negative test result was returned.

Remarkable Sweet Shop, in Arrowtown, was visited last Monday between 1 and 1:20 p.m.

Patrons of Thai Restaurant Queenstown were notified of a potential exposure the same day between 9 and 10 p.m.

Finally, Queenstown Airport was visited between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

All were considered casual contacts.

Queenstown Airport Corporation acting chief executive Andrew Williamson reiterated the department’s advice to those at the airport during the five-hour potential exposure window last week.

The airport was operating under the Orange setting in the traffic light system and following ministry guidelines for airport terminals, he said.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said the district has prepared for the challenges posed by Covid-19 and places of interest are expected to crop up.

“That’s exactly what we thought could happen,” Mr Boult said.

There had been communications with the Southern District Health Board before Christmas to ensure there was sufficient testing and isolation capacity and that people could be moved out of town if needed, he said.

University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said New Zealand’s experience with the Delta variant of the virus had been remarkable.

There had been a steady decline in cases and hospital admissions in the current outbreak for eight weeks.

Most of the Delta Variant transmission lines in New Zealand have been removed, Prof Baker said.

”That’s certainly the case in the South Island.

“And that tells us that he can be eliminated. ”

Meanwhile, it was confirmed yesterday that an infected managed isolation and quarantine worker in Auckland, who had been in the Auckland community, was infected with the newer and more contagious Omicron variant.

The ministry has released seven places of interest, including two bus routes that have been identified as high risk.

Professor Baker would not be determined which variant would be detected first in the southern region, but he said the consensus was that Omicron would spread very widely at some point over the next few months.

Without modification of the current planning, the borders would be opened gradually from next month.

The variant, under these circumstances, would arrive quickly and spread quickly, he said.

The World Health Organization estimated that Omicron would infect half the people in Europe over the next two months, he said.

If the virus were to spread that quickly here, it would overwhelm the country’s contact tracing.

“It’s so unpredictable with Omicron. The problem we have at the moment is that we have over 300 active cases at MIQ; we’ve never had a fraction of that number before.

“Really, given how contagious it is, just on the balance of probability, we’re going to have an outbreak pretty soon.

”I don’t think anyone can be more specific than that; you cannot predict the future.”

– There were 25 new cases of Covid-19 in the community yesterday and 43 at MIQ. On Saturday, 29 new community cases were reported and there were 25 new cases at MIQ.

– A new cohort of New Zealanders are eligible for inoculation today. Children aged 5 to 11 can now receive their first dose of the vaccine.

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