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Genomic sequencing finds 11 of NZ's recent Covid-19 cases are more contagious UK variant

Eleven of New Zealand's recent confirmed Covid-19 cases have been identified as the new UK variant, thought to be more infectious than the original strain of the virus.

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Six others have been confirmed to be the South African variant, the Ministry of Health says in an update today.

It brings the total of cases of the UK variant in New Zealand to 29, and the total of the South African variant to seven.

The cases have been identified through genomic sequencing carried out since January 6.

"We expect we will continue to see both the UK variant and South Africa variant in positive cases in our managed isolation facilities here in New Zealand as these forms of the virus become increasingly common around the world," the Ministry of Health says.

There is no update on New Zealand's overall Covid-19 case numbers expected today; the next update is due around 1pm tomorrow.