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Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Today’s case numbers as health experts warn of winter surge

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With winter just around the corner, an expert is urging Kiwis to not become complacent and says Covid cases in Auckland have risen by 75 per cent in the last four weeks.

The Ministry of Health is due to release the latest case numbers in a statement at 1pm.

Yesterday, new cases in the community dropped below 5000 for the first time in three months – coming in on Sunday at 4990.

There were a further 10 Covid-related deaths reported and 379 people were in hospital with the virus, including nine in intensive care.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers was 7863 – last Sunday it was 7608.

While this figure is down, University of Otago public health epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker told RNZ that modelling indicates that we’re likely to see a big upsurge of cases over winter.

“It’s always good to look at the moving average cause cases bounce up from day to day and the trend has now plateaued and is starting to track upwards and case numbers in Auckland have risen about 75 per cent in the last four weeks,” said Baker.

He said during winter, respiratory illnesses, including influenza, are transmitted easier during winter. Telling the difference between Covid and other respiratory illnesses would also be more difficult, he said.

“At the moment there are more forces favouring the virus than holding it back,” said Baker.

Meanwhile, Wellington Mayor Andy Foster has tested positive for Covid-19.

Foster tested positive on Sunday after developing light symptoms earlier that day.
On Monday morning his symptoms were light to moderate, and he will continue some of his duties via Zoom.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s recent bout of Covid-19 has put at risk her first White House visit and meeting with US President Joe Biden ahead of her trip to the United States.

Ardern said the issue was her recent infection with Covid-19 rather than any unwillingness to meet on either side. No other country’s leader had had Covid-19 so soon before going to the White House and that had resulted in uncertainty.

Officials have been trying to secure a slightly later date for a meeting – that is yet to be confirmed, but there is optimism it will now take place next week after the rest of her visit to the US.

Ardern’s positive Covid result also meant she had to delay her departure by a couple of days to meet the US requirement of a 10-day wait after testing positive. That meant events, including to promote the film industry in Los Angeles, had to be scrapped and Ardern will instead start in New York.

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