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Covid-19: Omicron border case active in the community is DJ Dimension

The border-related Omicron case who has been active in the community in Auckland is a chart-topping international DJ who recently arrived in New Zealand.

The DJ is Dimension, aka Robert Etheridge, a UK electronic music artist.

He arrived in New Zealand on December 16, and completed seven days in MIQ, to be followed by three days of home isolation.

He returned three negative tests before testing positive on December 27 – the result of a test taken on day nine, which fell on December 25.

Abigail Dougherty/Stuff

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Etheridge posted to his Instagram that he had followed government regulations and shown no symptoms ahead of testing positive twelve days after arriving in Aotearoa.

Etheridge said he was shocked and, “extremely sorry… Never in a million years did I think anything like this would be a reality in a country that I love so much and has always made me feel so welcome.”

Dimension was due to headline the Rhythm & Alps music festival, but was pulled from the line-up, along with another DJ, known as Friction, on Wednesday night “due to the ongoing impacts of Covid-19”.

Friction, who played at Hidden Lakes Festival in Christchurch’s Hagley Park on Tuesday night, is a close contact and is isolating.

Stuff understands other international artists due to play in New Zealand in the next fortnight are also considered close contacts.

Friction’s Instagram statement reads: “To everyone attending Rhythm & Alps tonight: I’ve unknowingly been in the vicinity of a potential Covid case while I’ve been here, I have returned a negative test but now as a precaution, I have to isolate for a period of time and am unfortunately not going to be able to perform for you guys at the festival tonight. The safety of everyone at the event, as well as the whole of New Zealand is the most important thing to me above everything. I’m absolutely heartbroken but promise I will see you all very soon x”

On Wednesday evening, drum and base duo Lee Mvtthews posted a video sharing they are close contacts of the Omicron case and will be self-isolating for seven days instead of playing at Summer Haze on Wednesday night and at Rhythm & Alps on Thursday.

“We put so much time and effort into the set, honestly, truly feel it was our best one yet, we’ve got new music, but it is what it is, and we’ve got to keep the rest of the country safe,” they said.

“Fingers crossed we can see you guys at Golden Lights.”

On Christmas Day, Dimension posted photos on his social media channels of himself by the sea, saying: “Merry Christmas from New Zealand.”

On his Instagram feed, he tagged the location of the picture as Waiheke, an island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.

He thanked his followers for “an amazing year” that saw his album top the UK dance charts.

Since the news broke, his social media posts mentioning New Zealand have been taken down.

Waiheke Medical Centre practice manager and the island’s Covid-19 response manager Jayme Kitiona told Stuff that so far she has not been notified of any exposure events on Waiheke Island.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins will address the country on the situation at 11am on Thursday, however there are no plans to change any settings at this point, said a government spokesman.

This comes after the Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday that a case detected at the border with the variant had “briefly been active in the community”.

The case arrived from the United Kingdom via Doha on December 16 and tested positive on day nine in their self-isolation period.

The Ministry of Health confirmed the case is not a New Zealand citizen but is fully vaccinated.

The person received their day nine test result on December 27 and was immediately transferred to an Auckland MIQ facility.

They were active between December 26 and 27, visiting five locations of interest in Auckland, including central city nightclub Impala and Commercial Bay Precinct.

The case visited Partridge Jewellers on Queen St on December 26.

Abigail Dougherty/Stuff

The case visited Partridge Jewellers on Queen St on December 26.

International travellers arriving into New Zealand are required to isolate in managed isolation for seven days before self-isolating for three days at their home.

Ministry of Health is now investigating the source of the infection and identifying close contacts.

Close contacts who have been identified and tested have returned a negative result for the virus and are isolating.

“We are taking this situation seriously and taking a precautionary approach,” said a Ministry of Health spokeswoman.

“However, we do not believe that the individual was highly infectious at the time of the above exposure events,” she said.

The Ministry of Health is advising Aucklanders to check the locations of interest regularly and follow the advice given.

Ahi Restaurant spokesperson Christopher Martin told Stuff, that although they were surprised to be one of the first Aotearoa locations of interest regarding the Omicron variant, they had prepared for the eventuality. Staff that were close contacts are isolating, and the business will close for multiple days.

Martin said Ahi will stay shut, “Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday as we have now lost half of the front of house team for one week. We have made the decision to manage the lack of staff and… get everyone tested.”

Locations of interest in Auckland

  • Impala, December 26-27, 11pm-3am
  • Commercial Bay Precinct, December 26, 2.30-4.30pm and 6.30-8pm
  • Sunny Town restaurant, December 26, 2.30-4.30pm
  • Partridge Jewellers, Queen St, December 26, 3.30-6pm
  • Ahi Restaurant, December 26, 6.30-8pm
  • Soul Bar, December 26-27, 9.30pm-3am

RNZ

World Health Organisation spokesperson Dr Margaret Harris says the Covid-19 Omicron variant has “many more mutations” but it is yet to be found to be more severe than previous variants.

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