Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Latest case numbers as NZ PM Jacinda Ardern isolates at home

Nearly one million New Zealanders have been infected with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, including the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford, which has put her into home isolation today.

As of yesterday, 980,573 cases have been confirmed in New Zealand since the pandemic started – equal to a fifth of the country’s population.

The Ministry of Health is set to release today’s case numbers in a statement at 1pm.

Yesterday there were 6745 new cases in the community and 12 people died with the virus – which takes the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 857.

The seven-day rolling average of daily cases was 7512, which was slightly increased compared to last Saturday’s 7415.

There were 339 people in hospital, including 15 in ICU or HDU.

Ardern broke the news of Gayford’s positive test and her isolationin a social media post this morning.

She said Gayford “woke up feeling a bit average and has tested positive … so we have 7 days of family time ahead of us!”

She said she and daughter Neve are “fine”.

“I’ll be working from home so anyone who watches question time, or is attending my Business NZ speech on Wednesday, you’ll still see me remotely.”

Earlier, a report was released by The World Health Organisation which showed that about 15 million people worldwide were killed either by coronavirus or by its impact on overwhelmed health systems in the past two years.

Scientists tasked by WHO to calculate the actual number of Covid-19 deaths between January 2020 and the end of last year estimated there were between 13.3 million and 16.6 million deaths that were either caused directly by the coronavirus or were somehow attributed to the pandemic’s impact on health systems, like people with cancer unable to seek treatment when hospitals were full of Covid patients.

The UN agency’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the figure as “sobering”, saying it should prompt countries to invest more in their capacities to quell future health emergencies.

The WHO said it wasn’t yet able to break down the figures to distinguish between direct deaths from Covid-19 and others caused by the pandemic, but said a future project examining death certificates would probe this.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Health reminded Kiwis remain vigilant despite the spread of Omicron slowing.

“With ongoing community transmission across the motu it is important we all remain vigilant.

“Please continue to follow public health advice to stay at home, away from school or work if you’re feeling unwell.”

A woman who has been ill with Covid for more than a month also warned others not to become complacent.

Along with the well-reported side effects of high fever, brain fog and loss of taste, Auckland woman Clare Jennings said she has had “awful and unusual” symptoms such as a burning smell in her nose, hair loss in chunks and debilitating insomnia.

She has battled ongoing nausea, has lost 8kg and is constantly exhausted.

“It has been a hell of a ride and I want to share my experience because it is definitely not just a cold, which is what I keep hearing,” Jennings said.

Yesterday she was told that a historic bout of glandular fever might explain why she has suffered so long.

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