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Easter travel: watch out for Omicron in Central Otago and Queenstown

The Southern DHB is warning residents to be cautious as they travel to usual holiday hotspots as it seems Covid-19 has already arrived ahead of them.

Queenstown, New Zealand - September 5: Statue of William Gilbert Rees in Queenstown Mall on September 5, 2015 in Queenstown, New Zealand. est of New
Queenstown Photo: 123RF

Recent wastewater testing had shown it was highly likely many more cases were present than were currently being reported and both Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes districts were sitting around 300 new cases per 100-thousand people per day.

Southern DHB's Covid-19 response lead Dr Hywel Lloyd said infections were rising in older age groups.

"Cases continue to rise in parts of Southern, especially in Central Otago, where we are now seeing our steepest rise in cases, and where many people will be heading for a break this holiday weekend. We all love to enjoy what Central and Queenstown has to offer, but our health system is stretched because of Covid-19 related staff absence in Central Otago," he said.

"We are also seeing a continuing rise in infections in our 65+ population and in those in the 40-50-year-old age group."

With the entire country now in orange traffic light settings, it was up to individuals to take the necessary precautions to keep others safe.

"It is now up to us, as a community, to make decisions that protect our loved ones and the vulnerable members of our society. The easiest and best way to do this is to make the decision to continue to wear a mask, just like we have been under the red traffic light settings," Dr Lloyd said.

"Wearing a mask, wearing it properly, and practicing physical distancing, as well as being fully vaccinated and boosted, is the best defence we all have against catching Covid-19 and stopping the spread of it to our loved ones."