Covid-19 ‘would possibly get extra intense’ throughout world over coming weeks, warns Michael Baker

Covid-19 tester holds a bag after administering a test at Echo Park Stadium on December 30, 2020 in Parker, Colorado.


The brand new Covid-19 variant discovered within the UK is ready to change into extra prevalent internationally on account of its more transmissible nature, an epidemiologist says.

Covid-19 tester holds a bag after administering a test at Echo Park Stadium on December 30, 2020 in Parker, Colorado.

Photograph: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Pictures/AFP

Six cases of the recently identified UK variant have been present in New Zealand’s managed isolation services over the previous three days.

Professor Michael Baker stated the new strain was always going to make its way here.

“It was inevitable – as a result of as soon as it comes a dominant pressure, prefer it has within the UK, folks coming right here will clearly convey it with them.

“This new variant will change into dominant everywhere in the world over the subsequent couple of weeks and months as a result of it is extra infectious.”

He stated if there was group transmission with the brand new pressure in New Zealand it could be tougher to manage.

“We have seen figures that it’s as much as 50 to 70 % extra infectious meaning the next replica quantity which implies it could be tougher to comprise an outbreak if one happens

“We actually wish to keep away from going right into a lockdown however that would simply occur if an outbreak occurs with the brand new variant.”

Pre-departure take a look at transfer was inevitable – Prof Baker

Yesterday, the federal government announced that from 15 January people arriving form America and the United Kingdom will need to show they’ve tested negative lower than 72 hours earlier than departing.

However many travellers have been already taking pre-flight coronavirus exams as a requirement for some transit nations, Prof Baker stated.

University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker

Professor Michael Baker
Photograph: College of Otago Wellington / Luke Pilkinton-Ching​

The one important route from the UK to New Zealand which does not require a pre-departure take a look at at the moment, is thru Doha.

New Zealanders within the UK usually are not allowed to transit via Japan, China or Hong Kong, and at the moment want a unfavorable take a look at earlier than transiting via Singapore.

Prof Baker stated the brand new requirement was an inevitable shift in coverage.

“Nearly all airline routes into New Zealand require testing earlier than you journey via them so I am unsure if this new requirement will change a lot for folks making an attempt to journey right here,” Prof Baker stated.

“We have now a number of hundred of individuals travelling right here every day and plenty are coming from nations the place the pandemic is uncontrolled and it would get extra intense over the subsequent couple of weeks.”

He stated it made sense for the federal government to consistently overview requirements on the border.

“Hopefully the pre-departure take a look at will encourage folks to take extra precautions earlier than they get on the flight – that may imply principally limiting your social contacts sporting masks and having a interval of house quarantine at house earlier than you get on the aircraft to New Zealand,” he stated.

“Each time an contaminated individual will get on a aircraft they’ll infect others on the flight workers at MIQ services, and we have now had border failures and they’re pushed by the variety of contaminated folks arriving right here, so the extra we will flip down that faucet the higher for NZ.”

Nonetheless, testing didn’t at all times choose up folks within the early levels of an infection so constructive circumstances might nonetheless arrive on the border, he stated.

  • When you’ve got symptoms of the coronavirus, name the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for worldwide SIMs) or name your GP – do not present up at a medical centre



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