New Zealand prepares for further waves of Omicron subvariants

Signs direct drivers waiting for a COVID-19 testing at a pop-up testing centre at Marsden Point, New Zealand on Jan 25, 2021. (PHOTO / AP)

JERUSALEM / TASHKENT / SEOUL / WELLINGTON / NEW DELHI – New Zealand medical experts enhanced COVID-19 surveillance at international borders as it prepares for further waves of Omicron subvariants that are currently prevalent around the world.

New Zealand recorded 7,050 new community cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths from the pandemic, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday

"New Zealand has been experiencing exactly the same thing with additional subvariants being detected over the recent weeks," the Ministry of Health's chief science advisor Ian Town told a press conference on Wednesday.

"There is a small chance that in the future a more aggressive variant may be found in New Zealand but in general we will see that emergence overseas and that's where our international surveillance plays an important part," Town said.

"COVID is not going away. It is a continual challenge for us as it is in many other countries," he said.

ALSO READ: NZ reports 1st case of Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1

The health ministry's chief testing advisor Kirsten Beynon said the government's surveillance measures included surveying wastewaters, hospital patients and travelers entering New Zealand.

New Zealand recorded 7,050 new community cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths from the pandemic, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.

Among the new community infections, 1,962 were reported in the largest city Auckland, the ministry said.

In addition, 70 new cases of COVID-19 were detected at the New Zealand border.

In this photo provided by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea government, a worker in protective gear stands on an empty sidewalk in Pyongyang, the DPRK, on May 17, 2022. (KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY / KOREA NEWS SERVICE VIA AP)


The Democratic People's Republic of Korea on Wednesday reported more than 54,610 new people showing fever symptoms, state media KCNA said.

Passengers arrive at the COVID-19 testing site of Israel's Ben Gurion airport in Lod on May 19, 2022. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)


The Israeli Ministry of Health on Tuesday called on the public to take precautions due to an increase in COVID-19 morbidity.

The ministry reported 3,732 new COVID-19 cases on the day, and issued a statement, recommending wearing a mask in buildings, public transport and near people at risk.

It also called on the public to complete vaccinations, take a COVID-19 test if symptoms appear and complete quarantine days in case of a positive result.

ALSO READ: COVID-19: Japan to open to tourists from June 10

Israeli state-owned Kan news TV reported Tuesday that a ministry expert panel will discuss on Wednesday the launch of a fifth-dose vaccination campaign for at-risk populations.

Israeli Minister of Public Security Omer Bar-Lev said he was infected with COVID-19, joining Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz who tested positive for the virus a day earlier. Both said they are feeling well and continue to work from home quarantine. 

People wait in a queue to interact with their relatives through a video phone facility set up by a COVID-19 help desk outside a hospital, in New Delhi, India, July 3, 2020. (MANISH SWARUP/AP)


India's COVID-19 tally rose to 43,190,282 on Wednesday, as 5,233 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the federal health ministry's latest data.

Besides, 7 deaths from the pandemic registered across the country since Tuesday morning took the total death toll to 524,715.

There are still 28,857 active COVID-19 cases in the country with an increase of 1,881 active cases during the past 24 hours.

So far, 42,636,710 people have been successfully cured and discharged from hospitals, of whom 3,345 were discharged during the past 24 hours.

A nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for a secondary school student at a vaccine center in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Sept 20, 2021. (VINCENT THIAN / AP)


Malaysia reported 1,128 new COVID-19 infections as of midnight Tuesday, bringing the national total to 4,517,447, according to the health ministry.

There is one new imported case, with 1,127 being local transmissions, data released on the ministry's website showed.

Nine more deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 35,699.

Soldiers of the Republic of Korea wearing protective gear spray disinfectant as part of preventive measures against the spread of the COVID-19 disease at Dongdaegu railway station in Daegu, Feb 29, 2020. (YONHAP / AFP)


The Republic of Korea reported 13,358 new COVID-19 cases as of midnight Tuesday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 18,188,200, the health authorities said Wednesday.

The daily caseload was up from 6,172 in the previous day, but it was lower than 15,790 tallied a week ago, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

For the past week, the daily average number of confirmed cases was 9,839.


Uzbekistan will lift all COVID-19 restrictions for all incoming travelers, the Uzbek Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

"In this regard, the rules requiring foreign tourists to provide a negative PCR test result for coronavirus, a rapid test for coronavirus antigens and a vaccination certificate or passport are canceled from June 10," it said.

This new rule applies to everyone who arrives from abroad, both citizens of Uzbekistan and foreign visitors, according to the authorities.