New Zealand Reports First Case of Omicron COVID-19 Variant

New Zealand reported its first case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant on Dec. 16.

Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield confirmed that authorities detected the Omicron variant from a person who arrived in Auckland on a flight from Germany via Dubai.

The individual, who is fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, is now at a quarantine facility in Christchurch, Bloomfield said.

Bloomfield also said that all the people on the flight have been transferred to two separate hotels in Christchurch on a chartered domestic flight.

Bloomfield added that all passengers would be considered as close contacts, as well as everyone on the floor of the quarantine facility where they are staying.

“They complete their full 10 days at the isolation facility at this point while we await further data on Omicron. That’s our interim approach,” Bloomfield told reporters.

According to Bloomfield, New Zealand was “very well prepared” in case Omicron was detected in the community.

“We fully expected we would find a case of Omicron and in fact we are treating every border-related case as if it were Omicron until proven otherwise,” Bloomfield said.

“We have every intention of keeping Omicron out of the country for as long as possible,” Bloomfield also said.

New Zealand reported 25 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 13, 238.

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