COVID-19: First Omicron case detected in New Zealand; infected person arrived in country from Germany

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Dec 16, 2021, 04:15 PM(IST)

This is a file photo of New Zealand's Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

New Zealand's Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said that the infected person arrived in Auckland before travelling to Christchurch

New Zealand has reported the first case of the Omicron variant of coronavirus (COVID-19) as the authorities informed on Thursday (December 16). 

The case has been detected at a state-run isolation facility in Christchurch in a person, who came to New Zealand from Germany via Dubai. 

New Zealand's Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said that the infected person arrived in Auckland before travelling to Christchurch on a charter flight. 

The travel took place after following the usual health protocols and measures as the person was tested for COVID-19 positive, the test result was confirmed on December 12, as mentioned by newshub.co.nz. 

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During a press conference on Thursday, Bloomfield indicated that there's a possibility of lockdowns or strict measures if Omicron is found in the community. 

During the press conference, he said, "Even under the current framework, there is a provision for local restrictions or lockdowns. And so whether it's Omicron or Delta, that's available there as a response if there is an outbreak where we think that might be necessary to help get control and reduce the impact, particularly on health services."

He added, "Again, it probably doesn't matter if it's Delta or Omicron, but at this point in time we're intent on keeping Omicron out of the community."

New Zealand approves vaccines for kids

Meanwhile, New Zealand has given provisional approval for the Pfizer Inc COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years old. 

New Zealand's health ministry said in a statement that the approval is for two doses of the paediatric Pfizer vaccine against the deadly virus, given at least 21 days apart. 

If approved by the cabinet, the introduction of the paediatric Pfizer vaccine is expected to start in New Zealand no later than the end of January 2022, the ministry said. 

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