Today in New Zealand, there are 6232 new cases of Covid-19 in the general public. The Ministry of Health has indicated that additional Covid-related fatalities have been recorded. Hospitalizations for the virus have increased to 390, with eight being placed in critical care. In addition, there have been four Omicron BA.5 and one case of the subvariant BA4.

The first cases of BA.4 and BA.5 have been reported in the community, but there is no clear link to the border. Every one of these cases is based on tests that sequenced the entire human genome.

As of May 18, the ministry had received reports from whole-genome sequencing tests indicating seven additional cases of BA.2.12.1 in the community.

As the ministry noted in a statement, “These Omicron subvariants are prevalent overseas and have been detected at our border for many weeks.”

The New Zealand health ministry said new data indicated that BA.2.12.1, the dominant subvariant currently circulating in Aotearoa New Zealand, was marginally more transmissible than BA.2.

BA.5 and BA.4 subvariants had increased transmissibility compared to BA.2, but there was no evidence that they were more dangerous.

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