New Zealand’s First Omicron Community Case is Target of Online Hate and Abuse


New Zealand has reported its first community exposure to the Omicron variant from a person arriving from the United Kingdom earlier this month.

A British DJ who tested positive for the Omicron variant of Covid-19, had briefly been active in the community in Auckland.

Robert Etheridge who goes by the name DJ Dimension is New Zealand’s first community case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. Etheridge said that he had removed Christmas Day photos posted on social media, after receiving many hateful and abusive comments.

He said he was sorry for inadvertently putting people at risk as a result of what he called his misunderstandings.

“I’m devastated to share that after 10 days of isolation, I tested positive for Omicron whilst in New Zealand,” he wrote last night on Instagram.

The recent international arrival reportedly returned a positive result on day nine of their self-isolation period but had previously returned three negative tests for Covid-19 while completing seven days of managed isolation at a facility in Auckland, the ministry of health said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The case arrived on a flight from the United Kingdom via Doha on 16 December and is fully vaccinated with a mRNA vaccine. No other Covid-19 infections have been identified from the individual’s flight,” the statement read.

The result of the person’s day nine test was received on 27 December and he was immediately transferred to an Auckland MIQ facility on the same day at which point the Omicron variant was confirmed.

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DJ Dimension was in Auckland city centre on 26 December and 27 December, but the health ministry did not believe he was highly infectious at the time.

There are four casual locations of interest and one close – the Impala nightclub in Shortland Street, between 11pm on 26 December and 3am on 27 December.

Anyone who was in the club during that four-hour window is considered a close contact – they should immediately isolate and get tested.

The other locations – two of which are in the Commercial Bay precinct – are, Soul Bar, Ahi restaurant, Partridge jewellers and the Sunny town restaurant.

New Zealand has reported 13,986 confirmed coronavirus cases and 51 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, according to government health data. There have been 54 Covid cases reported over the past 24 hours with the majority of cases recorded in Auckland.

Sources: The Guardian & RNZ News

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