Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Latest numbers after deadliest week, ahead of mandate removals

The latest Covid-19 data will be released after the pandemic’s deadliest week and ahead of the abolition of many vaccine mandates.

Vaccine passes from Monday become optional and mandates are limited to the health and disability, aged care, corrections and border workforce sectors.

The removal of pandemic health measures is based largely on expectations the Omicron wave has peaked.

The Ministry of Health yesterday reported 11,560 new community cases, down on earlier daily figures that soared above 20,000.

New Zealand experienced its deadliest week of the pandemic: 104 people died since Monday.

There were 678 people with Covid in hospital yesterday, down from a peak of 1016 on March 22.

Numbers are falling fastest in Auckland. The city was about four weeks past its Omicron outbreak peak, epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said.

Debate on whether to reduce the city’s traffic light setting is expected.

Monday will bring changes to the strictest setting, with indoor capacity limits under red light settings increased from 100 to 200, and outdoor capacity limits removed.

The less-strict orange settings have no gathering limits but do have a requirement for workers to wear masks at indoor events.

“If the trends we’re seeing continue in Auckland, I think a move to orange would be reasonable,” Plank said.

But he told the Herald that change could lead to an increase in cases again.

“If you’re indoors, the ventilation is poor, unmasked people are drinking, and there’s unlimited numbers, there’s potential for an uptick in infections across Auckland,” Plank said.

The latest Covid-19 case and hospital numbers from the Ministry of Health are expected to be released at about 1pm today.

Cabinet will meet tomorrow to review traffic light settings.

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