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Escape of UK Covid-19 variant into NZ could cause outbreak 'three times larger' than last year's, says expert

Data modelling expert Shaun Hendy says if the UK variant escaped quarantine in New Zealand, the country could see an outbreak triple the size of the one in 2020. 

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Modeller Shaun Hendy says the rate of transmission of the UK variant is concerning. Source: 1 NEWS

Twenty nine cases of the strain have been detected in managed isolation facilities in New Zealand.

It's high contagion and now higher mortality rate has experts worried.

“The thing I’m most concerned about though is the transmission rate. That really, particularly from a New Zealand perspective, that’s the risk to us,” Hendy told 1 NEWS.

“That could lead to an increased chance of it making through the border because it’s easier for people to pick up.

"If we did have an outbreak it would make that outbreak two to three times larger."

The Ministry of Health is keeping a close eye on the situation and it's urging Kiwis to be vigilant with hygiene and contact tracing.