23 Apr 2022

Covid-19 update: 7390 new community cases, 19 deaths, Omicron XE in NZ

3:04 pm on 23 April 2022

There have been 7930 new cases of Covid-19 reported in the community today and 19 new deaths, including two under nine years old.

Coronavirus particles, illustration. Different strains of coronavirus are responsible for diseases such as the common cold, gastroenteritis and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (previously 2019-CoV) emerged in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

Photo: NOBEASTSOFIERCE/Science Photo Library via AFP

The ministry also revealed that a person who has travelled from overseas to New Zealand has been confirmed as having the XE variant of Omicron. This is the first known detection of the variant in New Zealand.

The person arrived on 19 April, was tested on 20 April and whole genome sequencing subsequently confirmed the XE variant. They are isolating at home.

"XE has been spreading overseas and its arrival in New Zealand is not unexpected," the Ministry of Health said in its statement.

"At this stage, the public health settings already in place to manage other Omicron variants are assessed to be appropriate for managing XE and no changes are required."

* What is the Omicron XE variant? What you need to know.

XE is a combination of BA.1 and BA.2 sub variants of Omicron.

There is some early evidence that it may be slightly more transmissible than BA.2, which is more transmissible than BA.1.

There were 55 new cases identified at the border.

Two children under 9 reported among deaths

Today's seven-day rolling average of new community cases is 8475, while the seven-day rolling average of cases as at last Saturday was 8283.

In today's statement, the ministry also said there were 494 people in hospital and 15 in ICU.

Today's deaths were over the last seven days and include two people who were aged under nine; one person was in their 20s; four in their 60s; two in their 70s; five in their 80s and five people were over 90.

Nine were male and ten were female.

One person was from Northland; six from the Auckland region; two from Waikato; one from Bay of Plenty; one from Whanganui; one from Taranaki; one from the Wellington region; one from Nelson-Marlborough; four from the Canterbury region and one from Southern.

These deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 665 and the 7-day rolling average of reported deaths to 13.

Yesterday, there were 9390 new cases and 13 deaths reported in Aotearoa.

There have now been a total of 875,794 cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

The Ministry also reminds people that if they are going away this ANZAC weekend, they should have plans in place in the event they contract Covid-19 or are identified as a household contact of a case.

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