Covid-19: New Omicron subvariant detected in NZ

The publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 is now 1086. File Photo.

Today the Ministry of Health are reporting 8,150 community cases, 368 hospitalisations and 11 deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 7,308 – last Wednesday, it was 8,024.

Omicron BA.2.12.1 update

The Ministry of Health are also reporting the first case of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 in a community case, without a clear link to the border, in Hawke’s Bay from a test result returned on 10 May 2022.

This Omicron subvariant is prevalent in the USA and has been detected at our border for many weeks - there have been 29 imported cases reported since April, so its movement into the community is not unexpected.

Emerging data suggests BA.2.12.1 is marginally more transmissible than the subvariants currently circulating in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Our genomic surveillance (genomes and wastewater) remains in place to study any new variants and track their spread.

The public health settings already in place to manage other Omicron variants are assessed to be appropriate for managing subvariants present in our community and no changes are required.

Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 update

Meanwhile, the Omicron BA.4 and/or BA.5 subvariants have been detected in wastewater samples at Rosedale on Auckland’s North Shore and in Gisborne.

The presence of these subvariants in the community is also not unexpected.

The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are being monitored by the World Health Organization; to date, compared to BA.2, there is clinical data to suggest an increased transmissibility but no data suggesting it causes more severe illness.

As with all variants of Omicron, the public health advice remains the same. Getting your booster remains one of the best defences against COVID-19. Wear a mask indoors, stay home if you’re unwell, get tested if you’re symptomatic, and get vaccinated.

The vast majority of recently sequenced cases in New Zealand continue to be of the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, with small number of cases with the BA.1 sub-variant.

We are continuing to monitor transmission of all variants across the country and internationally. These latest detections emphasise the importance of continued wastewater testing, as increasingly ESR sequencing is able to refine what its testing detects. The sequencing can determine that either BA.4 or BA.5 subvariant or both may be present but is not able to be more specific at this stage.

COVID-19 deaths

"Today we are sadly reporting the deaths of 11 people with COVID-19," says a Ministry of Health spokesperson.

"The deaths being reported today are for people who have died in the past 10 days, apart from one death on 6 May and one death on 11 April.

"Delays to reporting can be associated with people dying with COVID-19, rather than from COVID-19, and COVID being discovered only after they have died.

"These deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with COVID-19 to 1,086 and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 10.

"Of the people whose deaths we are reporting today; two were from the Auckland region, one was from Waikato, two were from Taranaki, one was from Hawke’s Bay, one was from MidCentral, three were from Canterbury, and one was from Southern.

"One person was aged under 10, one was in their 30s, one was in their 60s, one was in their 70s, three were in their 80s, and four were aged over 90.

"Of these people, six were female and five were male.

"This is a very sad time for whānau and friends and our thoughts and condolences are with them.

"Out of respect, we will be making no further comment on these deaths."

Vaccinations administered in New Zealand  

  • Vaccines administered to date: 4,027,303 first doses; 3,979,246 second doses; 32,314 third primary doses; 2,652,745 booster doses: 262,597 paediatric first doses and 122,808 paediatric second doses  
  • Vaccines administered yesterday: 68 first doses; 62 second doses; 22 third primary doses; 829 booster doses; 44 paediatric first doses and 130 paediatric second doses  

People vaccinated  

  • All Ethnicities (percentage of eligible people aged 12+): 4,054,759 first dose (96.3%); 4,006,006 second dose (95.2%), 2,645,780 boosted (70.7% of those eligible)  
  • Māori (percentage of eligible people aged 12+): 521,243 first dose (91.3%); 504,433 second dose (88.3%), 237,277 boosted (53.5% of those eligible)  
  • Pacific Peoples (percentage of eligible people aged 12+): 282,051 first dose (98.4%); 277,236 second dose (96.7%), 141,705 boosted (56.4% of those eligible)  
  • 5 to 11-year-olds all ethnicities: 259,577 first dose (54.5%); 119,820 second dose (25.2%)  
  • 5 to 11-year-olds - Māori: 40,949 first dose (35.4%); 13,841 second dose (12%)  
  • 5 to 11-year-olds - Pacific Peoples: 23,621 first dose (47.8%); 7,134 second dose (14.4%)  
  • Note that the number for “People vaccinated” differs slightly from “Vaccines administered” as it includes those that have been vaccinated overseas.

Vaccination rates for all DHBs

  • Northland DHB: first dose (90.1%); second dose (88%); boosted (67.2%)  
  • Auckland DHB: first dose (99.1%); second dose (98.2%); boosted (73.1%)  
  • Counties Manukau DHB: first dose (96.2%); second dose (95%); boosted (65.7%)  
  • Waitemata DHB: first dose (96.5%); second dose (95.6%); boosted (70.8%)  
  • Waikato DHB: first dose (95.1%); second dose (93.6%); boosted (66%)  
  • Bay of Plenty DHB: first dose (95.1%); second dose (93.4%); boosted (65.2%)  
  • Lakes DHB: first dose (93%); second dose (91.2%); boosted (65.4%)  
  • MidCentral DHB: first dose (96.3%); second dose (95.1%); boosted (71.5%)  
  • Tairāwhiti DHB: first dose (92.9%); second dose (90.7%); boosted (65.2%)  
  • Whanganui DHB: first dose (91.8%); second dose (90.3%); boosted (70.8%)  
  • Hawke’s Bay DHB: first dose (97.3%); second dose (95.7%); boosted (69.1%)  
  • Taranaki DHB: first dose (94.6%); second dose (93.2%); boosted (67.4%)  
  • Wairarapa DHB: first dose (96.4%); second dose (94.9%); boosted (72.3%)  
  • Capital & Coast DHB: first dose (98.4%); second dose (97.8%); boosted (79.1%)  
  • Hutt Valley DHB: first dose (96.6%); second dose (95.6%); boosted (74.4%)  
  • Nelson Marlborough DHB: first dose (96.4%); second dose (95.2%); boosted (72.9%)  
  • West Coast DHB: first dose (92.6%); second dose (91.2%); boosted (70.9%)  
  • Canterbury DHB: first dose (99.8%); second dose (98.9%); boosted (73.9%)  
  • South Canterbury DHB: first dose (94.6%); second dose (93.6%); boosted (73.9%)  
  • Southern DHB: first dose (98.5%); second dose (97.5%); boosted (72.8%)

Partially and second doses percentages are for those 12+. Boosted percentages are for 18+ who have become eligible 3 months after having their second dose or 16-and 17-year-olds who have become eligible 6 months after having their second dose.


  • Cases in hospital: total number 368: Northland: 10; Waitemata: 39; Counties Manukau: 23; Auckland: 61; Waikato: 24; Bay of Plenty: 9; Lakes: 1; Tairāwhiti: 1; Hawke’s Bay: 19; Taranaki: 9; Whanganui: 6; MidCentral: 14; Wairarapa: 3; Hutt Valley: 9; Capital and Coast: 33; Nelson Marlborough: 7; Canterbury: 50; South Canterbury: 17; West Coast: 1; Southern: 32.
  • *Average age of current hospitalisations: 59
  • Cases in ICU or HDU: 11
  • Vaccination status of current hospitalisations (Northern Region only, excluding Emergency Departments): Unvaccinated or not eligible (29 cases / 12.89%); partially immunised <7 days from second dose or have only received one dose (8 cases / 3.56%); double vaccinated at least 7 days before being reported as a case (53 cases / 23.56%); Received booster at least 7 days before being reported as a case (127 cases / 56.44%); Unknown (8 cases / 3.56%)

* Please note the average age of current hospitalisations is for the Northern Region admissions only at this stage. This data is recorded and extracted from the same source as the vaccination status of patients in Northern Region hospitals.


  • Seven day rolling average of community cases: 7,308
  • Seven day rolling average (as at same day last week): 8,024
  • Number of new community cases: 8,150
  • Number of new community cases (PCR): 262
  • Number of new community cases (RAT): 7,888
  • Location of new community cases (PCR & RAT): Northland (237), Auckland (2,617), Waikato (602), Bay of Plenty (270), Lakes (137), Hawke’s Bay (217), MidCentral (247), Whanganui (78), Taranaki (249), Tairāwhiti (46), Wairarapa (85), Capital and Coast (632), Hutt Valley (221), Nelson Marlborough (356), Canterbury (1,284), South Canterbury (165), Southern (617), West Coast (87), Unknown (3)
  • Number of new imported cases: 78
  • Number of active community cases (total): 51,133 (cases identified in the past 7 days and not yet classified as recovered) 
  • Confirmed cases (total): 1,117,307

Please note, the Ministry of Health’s daily reported cases may differ slightly from those reported at a DHB or local public health unit level. This is because of different reporting cut off times and the assignment of cases between regions, for example when a case is tested outside their usual region of residence. Total numbers will always be the formal daily case tally as reported to the WHO.


  • Number of PCR tests total (last 24 hours): 3,501
  • Number of Rapid Antigen Tests reported total (last 24 hours): 16,430
  • PCR tests rolling average (last 7 days): 3,041
  • Number of Rapid Antigen Tests dispatched (last 7 days as of 25 May 2022): one million

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