New Covid subvariant in NZ as cases ramp up

Source: 1News

A new Covid-19 subvariant has been detected in NZ as cases shot up on Tuesday.

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

The Ministry of Health announced 9629 Covid-19 cases and 24 deaths, just over 3000 more cases than Monday's figures.

It also announced new Omicron subvariant BA.2.75 was detected in the community for the first time.

"Both cases had recently travelled from India, where this subvariant has been detected," the ministry said.

"BA.2.75 is a recently identified second generation subvariant of BA.2, the dominant variant circulating in New Zealand at this stage.

"BA.2.75 has only been recently identified as distinct from BA.2, and evidence on its transmissibility, immune evasiveness and severity is still preliminary and emerging."

However, the ministry added the subvariant has characteristics which mean it may be more transmissible and able to evade immunity better than BA.2.

"There is no current evidence that it leads to more severe disease, although assessing the evidence is at a very early stage," the ministry added.

There are currently 493 people in hospital with the virus, six more than Monday.

Eleven people are in an intensive care or high dependency unit, the same number as 24 hours ago.