The Ministry of Health is due to release the latest number of cases of Covid-19, including whether there are any more cases of the new, more contagious, strain in New Zealand.

The ministry last week confirmed two new cases – in people in managed isolation facilities – had been linked to the rapidly spreading UK coronavirus strain.

Both cases came from the UK via the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia and brought the total number of cases of the new strain in New Zealand to eight.

The new strain has forced the UK back into lockdown, amid fears its health system will become overwhelmed.

On Saturday, the British government reported the number of confirmed deaths had reached 80,868 – the highest in Europe and the world’s fifth-highest pandemic death toll. A day earlier, the country’s daily reported deaths had hit a record high of 1325.

Brisbane has gone into a three-day lockdown due to end on Monday night to ensure the new UK strain of Covid-19 is not spreading in the community.

In the last update given by the MoH on Thursday, the total number of active cases in New Zealand was 62, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1832.

The new and more contagious UK variant can be passed on easier than other strains of the virus.

However, there was no evidence at this stage that the length of the infection period was any different to any other variant of Covid-19 or that it made people sicker, a ministry statement said.

The ministry said people who had tested positive for the new strain were being cared for with the same high level of infection prevention measures as all Covid-19 cases.

“Infection prevention control protocols are in place for all staff and we can assure the public that there is no increased risk to the community,” the statement said.

Hamilton District Court was placed into a short lockdown on Wednesday after a woman who worked at a managed isolation facility turned up at court and told a staff member she had a runny nose and was awaiting the result of a Covid-19 test.

The lockdown was lifted after about an hour and a half, and about 40 to 50 members of the public were allowed out, but the court remained closed for the rest of the day.

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