First case of Omicron BA.4 variant detected at NZ's border

Source: 1News

A person with the BA.4 variant of Omicron has been detected at New Zealand's border for the first time.

A render of the Covid-19 virus. (file image)

The person arrived in the country from South Africa on April 22 and tested positive for Covid-19 on April 24.

The Ministry of Health says this is the first known case of the variant in New Zealand.

To date, the BA.4 has been reported in Southern Africa and Europe and Australia.

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"The arrival of this sub-variant in New Zealand is not unexpected. At this stage, the public health settings already in place to manage other Omicron variants are assessed to be appropriate for managing BA.4 and no changes are required," the ministry said.

In April, the World Health Organization said it is monitoring the BA.4 sub-variant to assess whether it's are more infectious or dangerous.

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The ministry said there is currently no evidence it's more transmissible but, "it can take weeks or months to identify the severity of each new variant or sub-variant."

The ministry added, "two other sub-variants of Omicron – the BA.2.12.1 and the BA 2.12.2 have also been detected in two returnees for the first time in New Zealand from travellers arriving on 11 and 15 April. Neither sub-variant is currently regarded as being of concern."

There were 5656 new cases of Covid-19 recorded in the community on Sunday.