January 5 According to a report by New Zealand SkyWeb, the New Zealand Ministry of Health announced on the 4th that six cases of mutant COVID-19 have been found in the country.
Of the six patients infected with the mutant virus, five are from the United Kingdom and one is from South Africa. The six people arrived in New Zealand from 13 to 25 December 2020 and were transferred to the isolation facility in Auckland immediately after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
Rod Jackson, an epidemiologist at the University of Oakland, said that the mutant virus is not more deadly than before, but this does not mean that it is less dangerous.
“The more people are infected, the more people will develop severe symptoms and the more people die, the more likely our medical services will be overwhelmed,” Jackson said.
New Zealand mandates that, starting January 15, anyone from the United Kingdom and the United States must provide negative test results 72 hours before departure; all immigrants must be tested and quarantined within 24 hours of entry.
Overall, Jackson believes that there is no clear indication that the mutant virus is prevalent in New Zealand, but people should still be more vigilant. He specifically noted that people need to make sure they use a COVID-19 tracking system every time they go.
The next outbreak briefing from the New Zealand Ministry of Health will take place on January 7.