Ardern expects ‘cautious approach’ over Auckland Omicron case

Source: 1News

Jacinda Ardern expects the Ministry of Health to take a "cautious approach", after it was announced an Auckland MIQ worker has tested positive for the Omicron Covid variant.

There have been a number of locations of interest released by the ministry connected to the case on Sunday.

At a media briefing, Ardern said the individual, whose case was picked up by routing testing, had done “everything by the book” and has been operating in a very cautious way.

“At this stage, however it looks like it has been found relatively early," she said, adding "there is a good list of those that we are seeking".

Ardern said she believed contact tracing “will do the work for us”.

She said as Omicron has spread globally the approach she was seeing was one of caution.

“Our systems are playing a very important role in working to try and hold Omicron at our border but it is sadly a case of when [Omicron emerges in the community] not if,” Ardern said.

She urged eligible people to stay up-to-date with their vaccinations and booster shots, saying the latter will have an impact in protecting people from severe illness with Omicron.

“So please if you are eligible go out and get your booster and help us prepare.”

Ardern said the Government will be receiving advice this week on how to mitigate a possible outbreak.

She said she expected the ministry would take a "cautious approach", given the global emergence of Omicron and how transmissible it is.

She said there were routinely more cases of Omicron being picked up at the New Zealand border than Delta cases in the community.

“It just demonstrates how rife it is globally and the fact that at some point we do expect that Omicron will reach beyond our border and we need to be prepared."

Sunday's positive Omicron case has seven household contacts and whole genome sequencing has linked the MIQ worker's infection to the border.

The Omicron case has been linked to two returnees from India who arrived on January 8 and tested positive for the virus two days later.

The ministry says the worker was infectious from January 10. They returned a positive result on Friday afternoon from a routine surveillance test which had been taken on Wednesday.

"A further 48 close contacts are in the process of being contacted, asked to isolate and get tested," the ministry said in a statement.