New Covid variant detected in three NZ border cases

New Covid variant detected in three NZ border cases

By Krishneel Nair
Sunday 25/09/2022
The removal of compulsory Rat tests at the border means no early warning of new variants, say experts. Photo / Bevan Conley

New Covid-19 variant BQ.1 has arrived in New Zealand with three cases detected at the border just before arrival testing was scrapped.

The new variant was said to be only incrementally different and there was no great change to the level of transmission.

Environmental Science and Research professor Mike Bunce says the cases of the new variant were detected just before the dismantling of the Covid Protection Framework - or traffic light system.

The change on September 16 meant rapid-antigen tests at the border were no longer a requirement.

Bunce says they preferred this to be kept in place because it gave them valuable information about the arrival of new variants.

He says there was an absolute conveyor belt of variants appearing at the border and after a period of time if they kept appearing, there would be leakage.

He also says the BQ.1 variant was one that UK epidemiologists had been watching.

Bunce says there had not been any community cases of BQ.1 detected.

BA.5 was still the primary variant in New Zealand.

Bunce says ESR was constantly looking at what was happening overseas, if variants were more transmissible and if they were causing more severe disease.

Regular monitoring of subvariants was carried out through both whole genome sequencing and wastewater testing.

Rat tests at the border provided important information on what to expect in New Zealand.

If a more transmissible variant was detected overseas it would previously have been detected at the border here.

Previously international travellers needed to complete Rat tests on the day they arrived in New Zealand or the day after, and again five or six days later.

Now arrivals are provided a Rat test and encouraged to test, but it is not a requirement.

Source: nzherald

Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
Womens Rugby World Cup 2022
Quarter-final qualification is now the goal for the Rooster Chicken Fijiana 15’s following their 21-17 victory against South Africa.
41 days ago

Queen Elizabeth II passes away
Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, has died aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.
71 days ago

Fiji wins Melrose Cup after 17 years
Fiji wins the RWC 7s title after 17 year drought
72 days ago
Rabuka and Chaudhry take to TikTok to reach out to potential voters while Bainimarama posts that he is not here to dance
Some leaders like People’s Alliance Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka and Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry have taken to TikTok to promote the init...
4 hours ago
Commonwealth Lawyers Association concerned over the invoking of criminal contempt for scandalizing the court against Richard Naidu
The Commonwealth Lawyers Association is concerned over the invoking of criminal contempt for scandalizing the court against lawyer Richard Naidu, ...
4 hours ago

Chaudhry asks Sayed-Khaiyum to show evidence of where Chaudhry is asking people to vote for him because they have Hindu blood
Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry is asking FijiFirst Party General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to show evidence where he had claimed ...
4 hours ago

Tower Insurance plans to create 100 new jobs in Fiji
Tower Insurance plans to create 100 new jobs in Fiji in their 2023 Financial Year. This was stated by Tower CEO Blair Turnbull, who says they now ...
5 hours ago

Chaudhry, Prof.Prasad, Kamikamica, Cama and Narube confirm their participation on fijivillage Straight Talk at 7pm tomorrow
The country’s economy and how it affects the people matters to everyone. Since it is a critical issue for Fiji, a special fijivillage Straight ...
6 hours ago

30-year-old man alleged to be involved in Savusavu aggravated robbery, arrested
A 30-year-old man who is alleged to be involved in an aggravated robbery case where he and three others stole a taxi in Savusavu last week has been ...
6 hours ago