Covid 19 coronavirus: Latest cases revealed, more details of UK strain

The Ministry of Health will today update the latest Covid-19 case numbers in the country, including whether there are any more match the rapidly-spreading UK virus strain.

The 1pm update comes after on Sunday 19 new cases were identified in managed isolation, including six cases of the recently-identified UK variant.

“The six cases, five of whom travelled from the United Kingdom and one who travelled from South Africa, arrived into New Zealand between 13 and 25 December and underwent routine testing in managed isolation as part of routine surveillance testing or because they developed symptoms,” the ministry said on Sunday.

“The UK variant is more transmissible than other variants of the virus but there is no evidence at this stage that the length of the infection period is any different to any other variant of Covid-19, nor is it more likely to produce severe illness.”

It came as it has been revealed all travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States will need a negative virus test before departing for New Zealand.

Today’s update also comes as the Covid-19 situation in the UK rapidly worsens.

Today British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new lockdown in England – a move to alert Level 5 from midnight (local time) tonight – in an address to the nation from Downing Street.

Alert Level 5 means that “there is a material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed”, the virus is circulating and transmission is high or rising exponentially.

“Since the pandemic began last year, the whole UK engaged in a national effort to fight Covid,” Johnson began.

“The collective efforts would have continued to work but we now have a new variant.”

The new variant is between 50 and 70 per cent more transmissible, Johnson said, and hospitals are under more pressure than at any time since start of pandemic.

“It’s clear we need to do more together to bring this new variant under control,” Johnson said.

“In England we must go into a national lockdown.”

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