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12 FEBRUARY 2022 (CKT)

A short time ago Prime Minister Mark Brown made the following address via social media.

Late last night the Ministry of Health in New Zealand advised that a flight that left Rarotonga last Monday on 7 February – is a place of interest; after a passenger on that flight tested positive for the Omicron variant of Covid-19 after arriving back in New Zealand.

The person’s partner tested negative, and three friends traveling with them have yet to be tested.

It is likely that the person who tested positive was infectious while here and further likely that the virus is in our community.

It may be there is “silent transmission,” where our high vaccination rate is so protective that people get covid but so mildly that they do not realise they have it.

We have prepared for this, and we will follow the procedures and processes to deal with this.

The fact that we have a high percentage of our people vaccinated will give us substantial protection from serious illness.

The infected person was here for 8 days, is fully vaccinated and first developed symptoms in the early hours of Monday 7 February, the day they departed Rarotonga.

The previous Friday 4 February, they tagged into Trader Jacks at 11.30pm and at 12.42am on the Saturday morning (5 February) they tagged into Rehab.

We do not need everyone who was at either of those places around those times to come forward for testing.

But if you have developed flu like symptoms, like headaches, a sore/scratchy throat, fever, or body aches, you should come to the drive through testing station at Tupapa Public Health Building today and get tested.

These are considered to be the most common symptoms that people are experiencing with Omicron.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call 56180 or 57486. These numbers will be answered 24/7.

Our borders will remain open with the current protocols and precautions in place.

Te Marae Ora may put in place additional Public Health protocols and if they do, these will be communicated to you.

You can also expect existing regulations and protocols to be actively enforced over the coming days.

Te Marae Ora has begun the contact tracing process and testing of close contacts, that is, people who were working at venues visited by the case and who are considered to be close contacts.

Most of all we need to stay calm, wear masks, maintain physical distancing and good hygiene practices.

We will keep you advised with daily updates.

ENDS: Media enquiries to Jaewynn Mckay; +682 55486