19 Covid-related deaths were reported on Saturday, including two children under the age of nine. Video / Dean Purcell / Michael Craig / Alex Burton

Two young children are among the 19 deaths of people with Covid-19 announced today.

New Zealand also has the first known case of the Omicron XE variant, discovered in a traveler on April 20, the day after they arrived in New Zealand.

This is the first known discovery in New Zealand of a variant, a combination of BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron sub-options, and for which early data suggest it may be slightly more advanced than BA.2, which is itself more transferable than BA. .1.

The variant was identified by sequencing an entire genome, and the man was isolated at home, the health ministry said.

XE was spreading abroad, and his arrival here was not unexpected.

“At this stage, the public health settings already in place to manage other Omicron variants are assessed as suitable for XE management, and no changes are required.

“To date, there is no evidence that XE causes more severe disease than other Omicron lines, noting that it takes weeks or months to detect the severity of each new variant.”

Two of the children, who are among today’s dead, were under the age of 9, the ministry said.

The 20-year-old was also among 19 new deaths, including people who died in the past seven days, and the total number of publicly reported deaths from Covid-19 is 665.

The remaining deaths were in the 20s, four in the 60s, two in the 70s, five in the 80s and five in the 90s. Nine men and 10 women.

Six of the dead were from Auckland, four from Canterbury, two from Waikato and one each from Northland, Bay Plenty, Wanganui, Taranaki, Wellington, Nelson-Marlborough and South District Health Offices.

“This is a very sad time for Vanau and his friends, and our thoughts and condolences are with them,” the ministry said.

Today, 7,930 new Covid-19 cases have been reported in the community, with the seven-day moving average number of cases rising from 8,283 a week ago to 8,475.

The largest number of new cases in the community was in Auckland: 2037, ahead of Canterbury – 1306 and South – 929.

Other new cases were: Northland (275), Waikato (548), Bay of Plenty (300), Lakes (163), Hawke’s Bay (253), MidCentral (321), Whanganui (123), Taranaki (263), Tairāwhiti (73), Wairarapa (83), Capital and Coast (459), Hutt Valley (240), Nelson Marlborough (294), South Canterbury (164) and West Coast (93).

Six cases from unknown locations and 55 new ones were discovered at the border.

The number of active cases in the community is 59,300, since the beginning of the pandemic in New Zealand confirmed 875,794 cases.

Just over 95 percent of kiwis over the age of 12 have received two Covid-19 vaccinations, and 71.1 percent of those eligible have been vaccinated. 88.2 percent of Maori receive a double dose, and 55.1 percent of those eligible are double.

For children aged 5 to 11, the first dose was given by 54.2 percent, the second – 22.4 percent. Maori tamariki – 35.2% disposable and 10.5% – double.

Meanwhile, kiwis who went on vacation were also warned of plans in case they became infected with Covid-19 or became home contacts.

“You will need to isolate yourself and probably stay wherever you give a positive result or become in contact with everyday life,” the ministry said.

“There may be additional costs associated with paying for extra accommodation and changing your travel plans.”

People who used their own car for travel could return home to isolate themselves, taking public health measures to avoid infecting anyone on the way home.

Including the use of self-service gas stations and maintaining social distance.

“However, if you use public transport or travel between the islands, you will not be able to isolate yourself in your home,” the ministry said. “So it’s important that you have a plan and the ability to isolate where you rest when you need it.”

The ministry said there are three actions everyone can take to protect themselves and others over the long weekend:

Be aware of vaccinations, including revaccination, if you have not already done so. If you plan to leave, cheer up before you leave.

Put on a mask. Masks are still needed in many rooms. A good rule of thumb is to wear a mask in public, as we know that using a mask halves the risk of spreading Covid-19. You should also wear a face mask on all flights and on public transport, in taxis and travel services – unless you are exempt.

Stay at home and avoid others if you feel sick, isolate yourself or wait for Covid-19 test results.

Kiwis, who set out to enjoy the long weekend and second week of school holidays, were urged to make a plan in case they become infected with Covid-19.  Photo / Getty Images
Kiwis, who set out to enjoy the long weekend and second week of school holidays, were urged to make a plan in case they become infected with Covid-19. Photo / Getty Images

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