Sunday 28 November

A person in their 80s has died. There are also 144 new daily cases, and the national booster programme gets underway. 

The Ministry of Health said the person was admitted to hospital on Thursday 25 November. They died last night at Auckland's North Shore Hospital. 

Of today's new cases, 127 are in Auckland, 2 are in Northland, 9 are in Waikato, 4 are in the Bay of Plenty and 1 is in Hawke's Bay. 

The 2 Northland cases came in after today's 9am daily case deadline, and will be added to tomorrow's figures. There is also a case in Canterbury, however it has been classified as a border case. 

Booster programme kicks off

From Monday 29 November, booster vaccination shots will be available. The Ministry said while priority remained on getting people fully vaccinated, anyone who had their second Pfizer shot more than six months ago would from tomorrow be able to get a third, booster shot. 

The focus is on workers and people most at risk of the virus.

“We’re particularly keen to make sure our healthcare and border workers – who are most at risk of coming in contact with Covid-19, and older people including kaumātua and those in residential care are aware that boosters are available from Monday, and that they’re eligible if they completed their course of Pfizer more than six months ago," Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said.

This rollout is different to the third shot people who are immuno-suppressed are receiving as part of their primary vaccinations, the Ministry said. This group still needs to wait another six months after their third dose before getting a booster. 

By the end of the year, 455,847 people would be eligible for a booster shot, the Ministry said. 

Like the primary Pfizer vaccine doses, a booster shot is free. It can booked through the  book my vaccine website or via phone on 0800 28 29 26.

GPs, vaccination clinics and pharmacies can administer the shots.

Currently, they are not required for vaccine certificates and gaining access to events, gyms, churches, hairdressers, and other services and premises under the traffic light system. 

Hospitalisations and international developments

82 people are in hospital, with 9 in ICU.

The Ministry also said it was monitoring developments and information on the new Omicron Covid variant. The strain has emerged from Southern Africa and has been labelled as "of concern" by the World Health Organisation.

Based on advice from the Bloomfied, 9 countries in southern Africa have been identified as very high risk from the Government, prompting additional travel restrictions into New Zealand. 

These are  South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique.

From midnight tonight, only New Zealand citizens from these countries will be allowed into New Zealand. They will also be required to stay in managed isolation for 14 days and undergo testing.

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