Maintaining the Covid setting for the BA5 variant

Photo: Getty Images.

Adam Gifford

John Whaanga: maintaining Covid setting for BA5 variant

The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring a new variant of Covid.

Omicron BA 5 has been detected at the border in travelers from South Africa.

John Whaanga, the Maori deputy chief executive, says it may take several months to assess the severity of the variant, but the department is comfortable with current public health parameters.

He says the ministry is taking into account the lessons it has learned so far from the Covid vaccination campaign on empowering whānau and communities.

“We need to work with our community suppliers, including our Maori and pasifika suppliers. We have had success in the past not only with Covid but also with flu, so it is important to make it as easy as possible to access services like whānau,” says Mr Whaanga.

If BA5 follows the trend of other variants, it may be much more efficient at spreading, but will not have as severe an impact on health-related morbidity and mortality as previous variants.

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