New COVID case numbers in New Zealand trending lower, signs wave peaked

A testing site for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is seen in Wellington, New Zealand March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Lucy Craymer

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WELLINGTON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – New Zealand’s health ministry is seeing strong signs that the country’s latest wave of COVID-19 has peaked as new cases continue to fall.

The number of people in hospitals with COVID is also down in late July.

“Case rates have continued to fall across all regions for the second week in a row,” Andrew Old, head of the New Zealand Public Health Agency, told reporters on Thursday.

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Over the past seven days, there have been an average of 6,142 new daily COVID cases, up from a seven-day rolling average of 7,776 new cases a week earlier, according to Health Ministry data released Thursday.

According to data released Thursday, 663 people are hospitalized with COVID, well below levels seen in late July, when more than 800 people were hospitalized with the virus.

Australia is seeing signs of an unexpected and early peak in its winter epidemic. Australian Health Minister Mark Butler told Nine News the government was quietly hopeful that cases had started to come down. Read more

The latest modeling from New Zealand showed the number of cases was lower than expected. The drop “strongly suggests we’ve peaked,” Old said.

The Omicron BA.5 sub-variant is driving the current wave in New Zealand, which has a population of 5.1 million. There have been 44,776 active cases in the past seven days.

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Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Bradley Perrett

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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