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Hipkins to provide update on Omicron

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Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins is due to take stock of the confirmation of New Zealand’s first case of the Covid Omicron variant in the community.

The infected person is a DJ from the UK who was scheduled to perform at the Rhythm & Alps music festival near Wanaka on New Years Eve.

Late last night, Robert Etheridge, who has been doubly vaccinated, said he was “devastated” to learn he had tested positive for the new, highly transmissible variant while in the country. He was scheduled to perform at the Cardrona Valley festival on New Years Eve.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health confirmed yesterday that Etheridge did not wait for a negative test result before leaving his self-isolating place in Auckland. A number of close contacts have been identified, but those tested gave negative results.

The electronic music artist spent several hours in the Auckland community on Boxing Day, visiting several of the city’s hot spots, including a nightclub and bar, restaurants and a jewelry store.

Impala Nightclub, Partridge Jewelers, Sunny Town China Taste, Ahi Restaurant and Soul Bar are listed as places of interest. People at these places of interest are considered casual contacts and should watch for symptoms for the next 14 days.

In a statement on his Instagram page Wednesday night, DJ Dimension said he tested positive after 10 days in isolation and was “devastated” to learn he had Omicron.

“As per government rules, I was in managed segregation for seven days followed by three days of home segregation,” Etheridge said.

“During this time, I received three negative tests and showed no symptoms. After completing my ten day isolation, and knowing that I had completed my quarantine, I entered the community. To my shock and to my immense concern, I unexpectedly received a positive test on the twelfth day, two days after my period of isolation ended. “

The community exposure was announced on Wednesday, just hours after 17 new cases of Omicron were detected at the border – the largest daily increase since the variant arrived in the country on December 16.