MOH Update - May 12
 

We are still at Alert Level 3

The Government has announced New Zealand will move from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 at 11.59pm on Wednesday, 13 May. Until then we are still in Alert Level 3.

Temporary limits on gathering numbers will be in place when we first move to Alert Level 2.

Cabinet will review Alert Level 2 restrictions on Monday 25 May.

Play it Safe

You will have more freedom of movement at Alert Level 2, but it’s up to each one of us to keep the rest of New Zealand safe.

These are the most important things that you can do:

  • COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.
  • Keep your distance from other people in public.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
  • If you have symptoms of cold or flu call your doctor or Healthline and get tested.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, regularly disinfect surfaces.
  • If you have been told to self-isolate you must do so immediately.
  • Keep a track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen.

Life at Alert Level 2

Life at Alert Level 2 means we can resume many of our everyday activities — but we have to do so safely.

  • Most businesses can open if they can do it safely. This will help to get people back to work.
  • We can go in-store at local businesses.
  • Tertiary education facilities, schools and early learning centres will be open.
  • We can travel between regions.
  • Initially gatherings like weddings, funerals, tangihanga, religious ceremonies and social gatherings can have up to 10 people.
  • We can safely connect and socialise with close friends and family, in groups of 10.
  • We can visit local cafes and restaurants bars and pubs to have a meal.
  • We can return to our regular recreation activities, at first keeping to 10 people.

Controls at Alert Level 2

Alert Level 2 is not life as normal, some restrictions and other measures remain in place to reduce the risk of transmission.

  • We need to maintain physical distancing.
  • We will keep tight controls in place at our borders.
  • Our wide-scale testing will continue.
  • We will find and self-isolate anyone who is unwell and their close contacts.
  • There will be measures in place to allow some safe travel and socialising.
  • Only small, controlled gatherings will be permitted.
  • Early childhood centres, schools and tertiary organisations will see most people returning — with controls in place.
  • Physical distancing, hygiene standards and contact registers will make businesses safe.
  • Personal movement

At Alert Level 2, you can leave home to do more things, but you should follow public health measures and consider others around you.

Follow these physical distancing rules:

  • Keep your distance when out and about (ideally 2 metres).
  • 1 metre from others in most other environments, unless there are mitigating measures. Examples of times where you should keep 1
          metre between groups include cafes, church groups, gatherings, restaurants and retail stores.
  • Take extra care if you interact with people you don’t know. These situations include playgrounds, parks, shopping malls or walking
          along the street.

    There will be a few times at Alert Level 2 where it won’t be possible to maintain physical distance, so there will be other measures to manage public health risks. Examples include hairdressing, physiotherapists, home help, and public transport.

Gatherings, events and public venues

Gathering in your home

You can have friends and family over to your home, but gatherings are limited to up to 10 people, or the people who usually live in your house. 

Play it safe — keep surfaces clean, wash your hands, and keep the numbers low so you can practice safe physical distancing.

Gathering outside your home

You can attend gatherings in controlled settings outside of your home. Gatherings include:

  • Weddings
  • Funerals and tangihanga
  • Family events
  • Religious services
  • Public meetings.

Gatherings must:

  • Have no more than 10 people
  • Not be longer than 2 hours
  • Keep high hygiene standards
  • Record attendees to ensure contact tracing can be conducted if necessary.
  • You can’t participate in any gatherings if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you need to be in isolation for any reason.

Public venues

 Many public venues will be open again at Alert Level 2. This includes:

  • Museums and libraries
  • Cinemas
  • Markets
  • Restaurants, cafes and bars (only for dining at first).

Detailed guidance about the numbers allowed in public venues like museums and libraries will be released soon. They must maintain appropriate physical distancing.

 Sport and recreation facilities are covered in the sport recreation section

 Venues must:

  • Keep groups of attendees 1 metre apart
  • Not have groups larger than 10 people
  • Not have more than 100 people in total — this excludes staff.

Hospitality venues can only serve customers if they are there to dine.

 Some venues will stay shut if they can’t open safely.

Exercise, sport and recreation

You can do your usual exercise, sport and recreation activities, provided you can do them safely.

This includes activities that were restricted previously, including:

  • Walking, biking and hunting on public conservation land
  • Swimming at a public swimming pool, but there will be restrictions
  • Going to the gym, but there will be restrictions
  • Boating and motorised watersports
  • Hunting during duck shooting season — start date Saturday 23 May.

Government is working with community sports organisations to work through how sport can be restarted safely.

High-level sporting events 

NZ Super Rugby and ANZ Premiership Netball professional leagues can go ahead at Alert Level 2 because they take place in controlled workplaces. The details for these events will be developed with Sport New Zealand and WorkSafe. Initially, they will happen without crowds but they can be broadcast.

High Performance Sport New Zealand activities can take place at Alert Level 2 using a controlled workplace approach in consultation with WorkSafe.

Workplaces and businesses 

At Alert Level 2 businesses can operate if they’re able to do so safely.

Engaging with customers

At Alert Level 2 businesses can have customers on their premises if they can meet public health requirements. This means businesses should:

  • Have good contact registers, or contact tracing records, in place to record everyone who you interact with on your premises
  • Maintain physical distancing of 1 metre between groups of customers, or 2 metres if not possible to keep contact tracing records
  • Not have groups larger than 10 people
  • Maintain a 2 hour time limit for customers to be on your premises.

Services can also be provided on customers’ premises, for example, cleaning and home help.

Most businesses can open their premises to the public:

  • Cafes, restaurants, and bars for dining
  • Hardware, gardening, and clothing retailers
  • Butchers, bakeries, and fishmongers.

Hospitality businesses should keep groups seated, separated, and use a single server if possible. This means each group has one server, though servers can each serve more than one table.

Work involving close personal contact

 For some businesses, close personal contact is required to deliver a service. This includes:

  • Hairdressers
  • Home help providers.

These businesses can operate if they have public health measures in place like:

  • Robust contact registers in place
  • Good hygiene practices
  • Minimised contact to the extent possible.

Specific guidance for key sectors is being developed by Government and will be available soon.

Doing business safely

The key public health requirements stay the same at Alert Level 2. Businesses should maintain hygiene measures, including physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces.

All businesses are encouraged to use alternative ways of working if possible. This means businesses that don’t normally have customers on their premises could continue to have staff work from home.

If workers are sick with symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay home.

Self-solation if you're unwell

Golden rules for business at Alert Level 2

Do everything you can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at work — we all have a part to play in keeping each other safe.

COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.

  • Most businesses can operate if they can do so safely. Alternative ways of working are still encouraged where possible.
  • Talk with your workers to identify risks and ways to manage them.
  • Ask everyone, workers, contractors and customers, with cold or flu-like symptoms to stay away from your premises.
  • Keep groups of customers at least 1 metre apart.
  • Keep contact-tracing records of anyone who will have close interaction (workers, contractors or customers).
  • Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.

Travel and transport

You can travel, but make sure you do it in a safe way.

COVID-19 is a disease you can spread without knowing you have it. You can travel around the country if you follow good personal health measures. You will need to keep records of what travel services you use and keep track of who you have been in contact with. You should keep your distance from groups of people you don’t know. You should minimise the number of places you stop on the way to your destination.

You must not travel to events which do not meet the requirements for gatherings at Alert Level 2.

Tips for minimising risk while travelling 

  • If you can, try to take public transport at off-peak times.
  • Avoid sitting next to someone you don’t know, or standing.
  • If you’re flying or taking other forms of transport that involve bookings, follow the physical distancing instructions from your transport
         operators.
  • You must not travel if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, awaiting a test, or if you need to self-isolate.

Education 

Early learning services, schools and tertiary education facilities will be open for all students and young people from 18 May.

On the advice of public health officials, any educational facilities connected to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 must close on an individual or group basis to allow contact tracing, and then potentially for a further 14 days.

Early learning services and schools

All early learning centres and schools will be physically open including years 11 to 13. Distance learning will be available for those unable to attend school, for example where people are self-isolating.

Early learning services and schools are safe environments for children, young people and staff. Additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.

Alert Level 2 FAQs for schools and Early Learning Centres(external link)

Tertiary education

Tertiary education facilities are open.

Tertiary education is a safe environment for students and staff to return to at Alert level 2. Tertiary education facilities will implement public health requirements and physical distancing as appropriate for the context, and will work closely to ensure a safe environment where students can continue their learning.  They will need to maintain distance learning capability to help manage within these constraints, and ensure safety of staff and students at risk of COVID-19.

Workplace-based learning will be conducted within the specific rules applicable to the relevant industry.

At-risk people

There is guidance for people at higher risk of COVID-19. It includes advice under the different Alert Levels, who is at higher risk, and how they can protect themselves.

Information for at-risk people

Self-isolation, quarantine and testing

  • At Alert Level 2, people who are probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19, or who are a close contact of a case, will have to self-
         isolate for 14 days, or until cleared by a doctor.
  • People arriving from overseas will continue to be placed in managed-isolation for 14 days, or quarantine if they are       showing symptoms.
  • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested — contact your doctor or Healthline.

Detailed table for New Zealand COVID-19 alert levels 

New Zealand’s 4-level Alert System specifies measures we must take against COVID-19 at each level. Find out what each Alert Level means for you by clicking on the links below:

Alert Levels Summary 
 

COVID-19 Alert Levels

 
 
May 8, 2020

We are still at Alert Level 3

New Zealand is still at Alert Level 3. You must continue to comply with all Alert Level 3 restrictions.
Please stay home and save lives.
Click HERE to find out what Alert Level 3 means for you.


Moving to Alert Level 2

We’ve united against Covid-19 and by continuing to work together we can earn the opportunity to move to Alert Level 2. When we move to Alert Level 2 we can leave our bubbles and reconnect with friends and family. 
We’ll move to Alert Level 2 when we’re confident there is no community transmission and that the disease is contained. When we do, we’ll have measures in place to track and stop any new transmission and stamp out any outbreaks. 

Cabinet is reviewing whether we are ready to move to Alert Level 2 on Monday, 11 May. Until then, we remain at Alert Level 3.


Play if Safe

You will have more freedom of movement at Alert Level 2, but it’s up to each one of us to keep the rest of New Zealand safe.  

These are the most important things that you can do:

  • COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.
  • Keep your distance from other people in public.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
  • If you have symptoms of cold or flu call your doctor or Healthline and get tested.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, regularly disinfect surfaces.
  • If you have been told to self-isolate you must do so immediately.
  • Keep a track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen.

Life at Alert Level 2

Life at Alert Level 2 means we can resume many of our everyday activities — but we have to do so safely.

  • All businesses can open if they can do it safely. This will help to get people back to work.
  • We can go in-store at local businesses.
  • Tertiary education facilities, schools and early learning centres will be open.
  • We can travel between regions.
  • We can safely connect and socialise with close friends and family.
  • We can visit local restaurants, cafes and bars.
  • We can return to our regular recreation activities.
  • We can celebrate life’s important moments with our loved ones such as weddings, funerals, birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Small religious gatherings and ceremonies can be held with public health measures in place.

Controls at Alert Level 2

Alert Level 2 is not life as normal, some restrictions and other measures remain in place to reduce the risk of transmission. 

  • We need to maintain physical distancing.
  • We will keep tight controls in place at our borders.
  • Our wide-scale testing will continue.
  • We will find and self-isolate anyone who is unwell and their close contacts.
  • There will be measures in place to allow some safe travel and socialising.
  • Only small, controlled gatherings will be permitted.
  • Early childhood centres, schools and tertiary organisations will see most people returning — with controls in place.
  • Physical distancing, hygiene standards and contact registers will make businesses safe.
  • Personal movement 

At Alert Level 2, you can leave home to do more things, but you
should follow public health measures and consider others around you.

Follow these physical distancing rules:

  • Keep your distance in public from people you do not know (ideally 2 metres).
  • 1 metre physical distancing in most other environments, unless there are mitigating measures. Examples of environments where you should maintain 1 metre distancing include cafes, church groups, gatherings, restaurants and retail stores.
  • Take extra care if you interact with people you don’t know as it won’t be easy to do contact tracing if necessary. These situations include playgrounds, parks, shopping malls or walking along the street.

There will be a few instances at Alert Level 2 where it won’t be practical to maintain physical distancing, so there will be other measures to manage public health risks. Examples include hairdressing, physiotherapists, home help, and public transport.


Gatherings and events

You can attend gatherings of no more than 100 people, like weddings, funerals, family events, concerts, religious services and public meetings, provided public health measures (see conditions below) can be maintained.

You can have friends and family over to your home, but play it safe — keep surfaces clean, wash your hands, and keep the numbers low so you can practice safe distancing.

All gatherings outside of the home (indoors and outdoors) can have no more than 100 attendees, excluding staff like waiters. Indoor gatherings should be seated if possible, and should be approximately two hours long. 

Food and drink consumption is fine at gatherings, so you can have food at wedding receptions or after a funeral or tangihanga. It should be prepared carefully and served individually, for example, not from a buffet.

Additional conditions on gatherings:

  •  Physical distancing and infection prevention and control requirements must be met.
  • All gatherings should record attendees to ensure contact tracing can be conducted if necessary.
  • Hospitality guidelines regarding alcohol consumption need to be strictly adhered to.
  • You can’t participate in any gatherings or events if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you need to be in isolation/quarantine
         for any reason.


Public Venues

Many public venues, such as museums, food courts and markets, will be open again at Alert Level 2. However, there will be restrictions in place including the requirement to keep groups of attendees 1 metre apart. This might require limiting the number of people inside at once. Some venues may stay shut if they can’t open safely.

 


Exercise, sport and recreation

You can do your usual exercise, sport and recreation activities, provided you can do them safely. 
This includes activities that were restricted previously, including:

  • Walking, biking and hunting on public conservation land
  • Swimming at a public swimming pool, but there will be restrictions
  • Going to the gym, but there will be restrictions
  • Boating and motorised watersports
  • Hunting during duck shooting season — start date to be announced.

You can play sports that involve close contact, but only if good contact tracing is maintained for training and games. Make sure you know who you’re training and playing with, in case someone gets sick. No one should train or play if they have symptoms of COVID-19. 

For sports where it is possible to maintain physical distancing, such as tennis, you should try your best to keep 2 metres from other people.

Detailed information on sport and recreation under each Alert Level on the Sport New Zealand website(external link)

 


High-level sporting events

NZ Super Rugby and ANZ Premiership Netball professional leagues can go ahead at Alert Level 2 because they take place in controlled workplaces. The details for these events will be developed with Sport New Zealand and WorkSafe. Initially, they will happen without crowds but they can be broadcast.

High Performance Sport New Zealand activities can take place at Alert Level 2 using a controlled workplace approach in consultation with WorkSafe.

 


Workplaces and businesses

At Alert Level 2 businesses can operate if they’re able to do so safely.

Engaging with customers

At Alert Level 2 businesses can have customers on their premises if they can meet public health requirements. This means businesses should:

  • Have a contact tracing system in place to record everyone who you interact with on your premises
  • Maintain physical distancing of 1 metre between groups of customers.

Services can also be provided on customers’ premises, for example, cleaning and home help.

 This means that most businesses can open their premises to the public, including:

  • Bars and cafes
  • Hardware, gardening, and clothing retailers
  • Butchers, bakeries, and fishmongers.

Hospitality businesses should keep groups seated, separated, and use a single server if possible.

 


Work involving close personal contact 

For some businesses, close personal contact is required to deliver a service. This includes:

  • Hairdressers
  • Home help providers.

These businesses can operate if they have measures like:

  • Have a robust contact tracing system in place
  • Maintain good hygiene practices
  • Minimise contact to the extent possible.

Specific guidance for key sectors is being developed by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and WorkSafe.

 


Doing business safely

The key public health requirements stay the same at Alert Level 2. Businesses should maintain hygiene measures, including physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces.

All businesses are encouraged to use alternative ways of working if possible. This means businesses that don’t normally have customers on their premises could continue to have staff work from home.

If workers are sick with symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay home.

 


Self-isolation if you are unwell

GOLDEN RULES FOR BUSINESSES AT ALERT LEVEL 2

Do everything you can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at work —
we all have a part to play in keeping each other safe.

 

COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.

  • All businesses can operate if they can do so safely. Alternative ways of working are still encouraged where possible.
  • Talk with your workers to identify risks and ways to manage them.
  • Ask everyone, workers, contractors and customers, with cold or flu-like symptoms to stay away from your premises.
  • Keep groups of customers 1 metre apart.
  • Keep contact-tracing records of anyone who will have close interaction (workers, contractors or customers).
  • Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.

Travel and transport 

You can travel, but make sure you do it in a safe way.

COVID-19 is a disease you can spread without knowing you have it. You can travel around the country if you follow good personal health measures. You will need to keep records of what travel services you use and keep track of who you have been in contact with. You should keep your distance from groups of people you don’t know. You should minimise the number of places you stop on the way to your destination.

You must not travel to events which do not meet the requirements for gatherings at Alert Level 2.

Tips for minimising risk while travelling:

  • Try to limit taking public transport, or use at off-peak times.
  • Avoid sitting next to someone you don’t know, or standing.
  • If you’re flying or taking other forms of transport that involve bookings, follow the physical distancing instructions from your transport operators.
  • You must not travel if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, awaiting a test, or if you need to self-isolate.

Education

Early learning services, schools and tertiary education facilities will all open at Alert Level 2.

On the advice of public health officials, any educational facilities connected to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 must close on an individual or group basis to allow contact tracing, and then potentially for a further 14 days.

Early learning services and schools

All early learning centres and schools will be physically open including years 11 to 13. Distance learning will be available for those unable to attend school, for example where people are self-isolating.

Early learning services and schools are safe environments for children, young people and staff. Additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.

Tertiary education

Tertiary education facilities are open.

Tertiary education is a safe environment for students and staff to return to at Alert level 2. Tertiary education facilities will implement public health requirements and physical distancing as appropriate for the context, and will work closely to ensure a safe environment where students can continue their learning.  They will need to maintain distance learning capability to help manage within these constraints, and ensure safety of staff and students at risk of COVID-19.

Workplace-based learning will be conducted within the specific rules applicable to the relevant industry.


At-risk people

There is guidance for people at higher risk of COVID-19. It includes advice under the different Alert Levels, who is at higher risk, and how they can protect themselves.

Information here for at-risk people


Self-isolation, quarantine & testing

  • At Alert Level 2, people who are probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19, or who are a close contact of a case, will have to self-
         isolate for 14 days, or until cleared by a doctor.
  • People arriving from overseas will continue to be placed in managed-isolation for 14 days, or quarantine if they are 
         showingsymptoms.
  • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested — contact your doctor or Healthline.

 

Summary table of New Zealand COVID-19 Alert. For  detailed table, go here

 


 

 

 

1445 confirmed cases - NZ prepares to move into Level 3 

New Zealand has 1,445 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19. More information is available on our current cases page. With continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low.

New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 4 – Eliminate. At 11.59 pm on Monday 27 April New Zealand will move back to Alert Level 3 - Restrict.  To find out more see: Alert Level 3  and Health and Disability Services

4 additional deaths - total COVID-19 - 1366

14 April 2020

The Ministry of Health is extremely sad to report four additional deaths linked to COVID-19 infection.

One death has occurred in Wellington and there have been three additional deaths from the Rosewood cluster in Christchurch.

This brings the total of deaths in New Zealand to 9, six of which involve Rosewood residents being cared for at Burwood. The deaths we are announcing today are: 

  • a man in his 90s at Burwood 
  • a man in his 80s at Burwood 
  • a man in his 90s at Burwood 
  • a man in his 70s in Wellington – associated with overseas travel.

The Ministry has previously signalled the underlying vulnerabilities of the Rosewood group and that this group would continue to be at risk. That does not make today’s news any less sad.

The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the largest number of deaths reported on any one day in New Zealand is a sobering reminder of what is at stake with COVID-19. 

“I want to acknowledge all these families and offer New Zealand’s sympathy and support,” says Dr Bloomfield. “Whether husbands, partners, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, cousins or friends – wherever they fit in their wider whānau, we are thinking of them and of you.”

In terms of case details which are appropriate to release, the Ministry can say that all the Rosewood individuals who died yesterday had underlying conditions to some degree, and all were confirmed cases for COVID-19.

The man in Wellington was admitted to hospital on 22 March and has been unwell for some time. Capital & Coast DHB and its staff have been working closely with the man and his family and will continue to offer the family support. 

As the Ministry has said previously, the Rosewood group was transferred from a high level psychogeriatric (or dementia) unit.  The care they have been receiving is consistent with the high level of psychogeriatric care they would have been provided at the facility and includes, where appropriate, end of life/palliative.  Medical oversight at Burwood is from a GP. 

The Director-General today conveyed feedback from families of Rosewood residents at Burwood which speaks highly of the nursing staff there.
 
“They are just amazing, doing an incredible job. The communication with us was superb – we had lots of calls, including facetime calls with dad. We’re so grateful.”

“We couldn’t speak more highly of the staff and care dad received, both at Burwood and at Rosewood.  They skyped with dad and the nurse caring for him arranged for him to see a video the family had put together, and there were lots of phone calls.”

Aged Residential Care

We know residents of New Zealand aged residential care facilities make up some of our most vulnerable communities, particularly if COVID-19 is able to take hold.

It’s been crucial for the Ministry to work closely with the New Zealand Aged Care Association, Care Association New Zealand, district health boards and facilities around the country from early on in the evolution of the pandemic. 

We worked with the sector to take specific actions such as stopping family visits and non-essential visits at facilities ahead of the country moving to Alert Level 4. Every new arrival at a facility must also now go into isolation for 14 days.

There are more than 650 aged care facilities nationwide, and there has been excellent care and preparation across the sector. This is highlighted by the fact that in New Zealand,  relatively few facilities are affected compared to overseas.

The Ministry and DHBs will continue supporting work by the sector to ensure facilities have access to PPE supply lines and other support.

DHBs are currently looking at each facility's plans and procedures to reduce risk to staff and residents, including assessing the use of PPE. 

The Ministry will also develop a plan for an independent review of the facility outbreaks so we can understand what can change and what procedures can be improved. 

The Ministry has provided guidance to the sector on managing staff and residents with potential COVID-19 infections and we continue to update this advice regularly.

We need to stay ahead of COVID-19 and we must make sure this doesn't take hold of our older population . 

Case numbers

Today our total number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 17, made up of 8 new  confirmed cases and 9 new probable cases.

There are now 628 reported cases of COVID-19 infection which we can confirm have recovered – an increase of 82 on yesterday. Recovered cases now firmly dominate the number of new cases. 

The new combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 1366.Today there are 15 people in hospital. The total includes three people in ICU – one each in Middlemore, Dunedin and North Shore hospitals. One of these ICU patients – in Dunedin – remains in a critical condition.

For those cases we have information on, 48% involve contact with a confirmed case within New Zealand including those in known clusters, 39% have a link with overseas travel and community transmission accounts for 2%. 11% continue under investigation.

1572 tests were processed yesterday, with a rolling 7-day average of 3039 and total tests to date of 64,399.  As we said yesterday, we anticipated a drop off in testing over the Easter holiday period.  Partly this is due to the effect of public holidays, and also with the measures in place around Alert Level 4, we would expect fewer people to be presenting with respiratory issues. 

We will be ramping up testing again this week and we’re well placed to do more testing across the country. 

PPE

We expect to receive approximately 10 million items this week of which 9 million are procedure masks or equivalent - next week we expect to receive 18 million items.

The national ordering process for DHBs has been stood up today to initially distribute masks with other PPE products being added moving forward. DHBs will be placing the first lot of orders under this new system tomorrow morning with delivery by the end of the week. Health and disability service providers can expect to receive stock by early next week

COVID-19 - total 1239

09 April 2020

New Zealand has 1,239 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19. With continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low.

New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 4 – Eliminate. This means that it is likely that the disease is not contained.

Important updates
Contact tracing phone calls: If you have been identified as a close contact, you can expect calls from Ministry of Health and Healthline. It is important to answer your phone. Find out how to recognise a call from the Ministry or Healthline at Contact tracing.

Join the COVID-19 surge workforce: We are seeking expressions of interest from health and care professionals who are able and willing to work for a limited amount of time as part of the national strategic approach to managing COVID-19. Find out more

Personal protective equipment (PPE): What's important for you to know about PPE for essential workers. Find out more

COVID-19 - 67 new cases -total now 1106

06 April 2020

Today there are 39 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 28 new probable cases. There are no additional deaths to report.

There are now 176 reported cases which we can confirm have recovered.

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 1106 – this is 67 more than yesterday.

Today there are 13 people in hospital, including 3 in ICU – 1 in Wellington, 2 in Auckland. 1 is in a critical condition. It is good news that two people have been discharged since our update yesterday and that people are continuing to recover.

Testing

Testing continued over the weekend.

From our lab numbers, we can report a 7 day rolling average of tests at 2846 per day.  

The total of lab tests to date is 39,918 and 3709 tests were carried out yesterday.  

This is a new record number of tests for one day, as our capacity to test continues to increase.

For our community-based testing numbers, as of today we have 65 CBACs and 48 designated swabbing centres.

Breakdowns

For those cases we have information on, we are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel (43%), as well as links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (38%) including those in clusters we already know about and community transmission (2%). 

The ethnicity breakdown of the confirmed cases is: 

  • European or other – 73.5% 
  • Asian – 8.4%
  • Unknown – 6.7%
  • Māori – 7.8%
  • Pacific peoples – 3.4%

More details are available on our Current cases page.

Clusters

There’s ongoing interest in clusters – a cluster is where there are a group of COVID-19 cases linked together because they’ve been in the same place together.

We currently have 12 significant clusters. The clusters with the highest number of associated cases remains the same as yesterday: a wedding in Bluff (62), an event in Matamata (58) and a school cluster in Auckland (72). 

There is now further information available around a new cluster in Christchurch involving the Rosewood Rest Home.

The Canterbury District Health Board is working closely with patients and staff around this cluster, including moving 20 patients to Burwood Hospital so they can isolate as a group, while the rest home carries out an extensive clean.

COVID-19 - 82 new cases -total now 950

04 April 2020

Today there are 52 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 30 new probable cases. There are no additional deaths to report.

There are now 127 reported cases which we can confirm have recovered.

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 950, 82 more than yesterday.

We now have three fewer people in hospital with COVID-19.  Today there are 10 in hospital, including one person in Wellington in ICU. All inpatients are in a stable condition.  

From our lab numbers, we can report a 7-day rolling average of tests at 2264 per day. Yesterday we did the highest number of tests we have completed in a single day - 3631.  The total of lab tests to date is 33,116. We now have capacity for 6271 tests a day. 

We are continuing to grow the supply of both swabs and the components used by labs to process tests.

Altogether, we have more than 100,000 nasal and throat swabs in stock, and around 37,000 lab test kit componentry.

There is high demand for nasal swabs and our local manufacturer is ramping up production, with 300,000 swabs due in the next 3 to 4 weeks.

For those cases we have information on, we are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel (47%), as well as links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (34%) and community transmission (1%). 

Another 17% of cases continue to be investigated. We fully expect that some of those will transpire to be community transmission, once other alternatives such as overseas travel or link with a confirmed or probable case have been excluded.

We have 10 significant clusters - that is, more than 10 people infected from a single source. 

More details are available on current cases.

Issuing of notice under s 70(1)(f) of the Health Act 1956

Yesterday the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield issued a notice under s 70(1)(f) of the Health Act 1956.

The notice provides greater clarity around self-isolation for the public and also greater clarity for police about enforcement.

To date there has been a high level of compliance with self-isolation.

The notice sets out clearly the requirements for everyone in New Zealand to self-isolate where they were when we began lockdown, except for essential personal movements. 

We know that good compliance with these requirements will protect New Zealand from COVID-19 and we know that staying home saves lives.

For the small number of people not following this guidance we need to have appropriate processes in place to deal with that. This Health Act notice gives Police clear guidance on managing those people those who aren't doing what they're supposed to.  

This order is available in the legal notices section on the COVID-19 website.

Technical Advisory Group

The Technical Advisory Group met yesterday to provide further advice.

Case Definition

The Technical Advisory Group updated the definition of a case of COVID-19 to separate respiratory symptoms from any travel history or known contact with a confirmed or probable case.

Testing will now be available to people with respiratory problems suggestive of COVID-19 regardless of travel history or contact with a confirmed or probable case, and fever is no longer a requirement. 

Recovery

The Technical Advisory Group also considered and recommended no change to the recovery definition - an individual with COVID-19 can be released from isolation when at least 10 days has passed since the onset of symptoms and at least 48 hours of being symptom free. 

A negative test result isn’t required for an individual in isolation at home, although a test could be at the discretion of the clinician where the patient has been in hospital.

Face masks

The Ministry is watching very closely advice from the WHO and CDC around whether or not people should wear face masks in public to limit spread of the virus from people who are infected but not showing symptoms.

The best current advice is that basic hygiene measures such as frequent hand-washing, physical distancing and sneeze and cough etiquette remain the mainstay in our defence against COVID-19. 

We know there are ways in which wearing a mask could be helpful and also ways in which it could be harmful.

In many countries individuals who are unwell often wear a mask when they go out. There is evidence that can be good practice particularly for protecting others.

However, there is also some evidence that wearing a mask can also do harm such as when it leads to people touching their face more often due to discomfort.  That can increase the risk of contamination from your hand and wearing a mask can give a false sense of security. 

Healthline

A reminder that Healthline continues to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Healthline has done a considerable amount of work to increase capacity of their services which has reduced wait times – now on average 5 minutes. 

Healthline continues to be a popular service for people concerned about their health. 

Both Healthline and many primary care providers report that many people with other health issues are leaving it too long to see a doctor or call Healthline because they are concerned that the focus should be on COVID-19.

We do have capacity to provide appropriate health care so people with health issues should act sooner rather than later. Continue to contact your GP, continue to ring Healthline.

COVID-19 cases now 708

 

01 April 2020
 

Today there are 47 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 14 new probable cases. There are no additional deaths to report.

There are now 82 reported cases which we can confirm have recovered. The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 708, 61 more than yesterday.

These numbers continue to be encouraging but they do not yet signal a turn-around. 

Today we can report 16 people remain in hospital with COVID-19.  

As reported midnight 31 March, the following is the number of inpatients across all 20 DHBs: 

  • Tairawhiti/Gisbourne Hospital - 1 
  • Waikato Hospital - 1  
  • Canterbury - 1 
  • Auckland City Hospital - 1 
  • Hawkes Bay Hospital - 1 
  • Taranaki - 1 
  • Middlemore Hospital - 2 
  • Wairau Hospital, Blenheim - 1  
  • Nelson Hospital - 1  
  • Wellington City Hospital - 3
  • Palmerston North - 1 
  • Tauranga - 1
  • Dunedin - 1 

Two of the 16 in hospital are in ICU and are stable.

For those cases we have information on, we are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel (51%), as well as links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (30%) and community transmission (1%). 

We continue to focus on getting more information on community transmission.

Updated Case Definition 

The Technical Advisory Group met yesterday and are today issuing a new case definition. 

The Case Definition is a guide for health professionals on testing, but also continues to accommodate their clinical judgement in determining testing. 

The new case definition is now that anyone with respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should be considered for testing regardless of travel history or contact with a confirmed case. 

This will result in more testing being done which we are also prepared for. Testing capacity is currently 3,700 tests daily, and we are currently doing an average of 1843 tests per day based on the last seven days. 

We are increasing capacity to test – currently we have 8 laboratories and by the end of next week that will be ten, with laboratories in Auckland and Tauranga coming on stream and increasing our capacity to more than 4000 tests per day. 

Clusters 

We are continuing to actively investigate and contact trace a number of clusters. There is the potential within clusters for rapid spread – which is why we identify, test, isolate and investigate these. 

Cluster investigations happen at a local level through our DHBs and involve immediate contract tracing and sometimes more broad testing of those contacts and within the community to ensure we get good control, and we get better information about what is happening in that community. 

We continue to fine-tune how we report these clusters and we will be updating our website later today to reflect current known significant clusters. 

Our contact tracing continues apace.  Yesterday we were in contact with 418 close contacts to give them advice and information of the need for strict, monitored self-isolation for 14 days.  

Lastly, we are seeking physical distancing not social distancing so it is important that we all keep in contact by phone or through the various options we now have for communicating online.  

It is important that we again remind people to be considerate to each other, and their neighbours and to be kind.  

58 new cases - total now 647

31 March 2020

Today, there are 48 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 10 new probable cases.

There are no additional deaths to report.

There are now 74 reported cases which we can confirm have recovered.

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 647, 58 more than yesterday.

These numbers are encouraging but they are far from a cause for early celebration. New Zealand needs to continue its vigilance. The numbers today show it’s more important than ever to continue to abide by the Level 4 conditions and observe the lockdown.

That’s the best way we will continue to make progress in the fight against COVID-19. 

Today we can report 14 people in hospital with COVID-19.  The locations are as follows:

  • Tairawhiti/Gisborne Hospital – 1 
  • Waikato Hospital – 1 
  • West Coast/Grey Base Hospital – 1 
  • Whangarei Hospital – 1  
  • Canterbury – 1 
  • Auckland City Hospital – 1 
  • Hawkes Bay Hospital – 1 
  • Taranaki – 1 
  • Middlemore Hospital – 1  
  • Wairau Hospital, Blenheim – 1 
  • Nelson Hospital – 1 
  • Wellington City Hospital – 3 

Two of these people are in ICU. For privacy reasons we won’t be providing other details on these patients.

Our laboratories are working to process and report test results as quickly as possible. Over the last seven days our average daily test number is 1777.

As usual, people being tested are expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test.

We are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel (53%), as well as links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (29%) and community transmission (1%).

Summary

As at 9.00 am, 31 March 2020
 Total to dateNew in last 24 hours
Number of confirmed cases in New Zealand 600 48
Number of probable cases 47 10
Number of confirmed and probable cases 647 58
Number of cases in hospital 14 -
Number of recovered cases 74 11
Number of deaths 1  

Transmission

Source of transmission, as at 9.00 am 31 March
Source of transmission % of cases
Recent overseas travel 53%
Contact with known case 29%
Community transmission 1%
Source under investigation 17%

First death linked to COVID-19

29 March 2020

Sadly, New Zealand had its first death linked to COVID-19 on the West Coast early this morning.

The death was in a woman in her seventies who had initially been admitted four days ago with what was thought to be influenza complicated by a underlying chronic health condition.

As we have seen around the world, COVID-19 can be a deadly disease – particularly for elderly people, and those with underlying pre-existing health issues. 

All of our thoughts are with the woman’s family and loved ones at this time.

As a result of the initial diagnosis of influenza and then the subsequent confirmation of COVID-19 there was a period when staff treating the woman were using protective equipment suitable for influenza, but not COVID-19.

Once the diagnosis was confirmed staff took a range of measures to protect themselves and other patients, however as a precautionary approach, the DHB has placed 21 staff in self-isolation for the balance of 14 days from their last involvement in the patient’s care.

Family members visiting the woman in hospital, who do not have symptoms, will also be in monitored self-isolation for the next 14 days.

Understandably, the family would like to take time to grieve, and they have asked for the media to respect their privacy. 

Our health system will continue to do everything it can to help patients with COVID-19. 

We have sufficient hospital capacity to manage our current and projected cases and we have plans in place to boost capacity – if needed.

This latest sad news reinforces the importance of our move to Alert Level Four, and the measures we are all taking to limit spread, break the chain of transmission and prevent deaths.

There were also 63 new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand made up of 60 new confirmed cases and 3 probable cases. This is as at 9.00 am this morning.

There are 56 individuals that we can confirm have recovered.

We have nine people in hospital with COVID-19. There are 3 in Wellington Regional Hospital, 1 in Wairau Hospital (Blenheim), 1 in Nelson Hospital, 1 in Whangarei Hospital and 1 each in Waikato, Taranaki and Dunedin hospitals.

We have one person in ICU on a ventilator. For privacy reasons we won’t be providing other details on these patients.

Our laboratories are working to process and report test results as quickly as possible. Taken over a seven-day period, our average daily test number is 1786.

Anyone who has been tested is expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test – that means effectively quarantining themselves from other members of their family.

We are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel, as well as links to confirmed cases.

Along with a number of clusters currently under investigation we are also investigating a cluster of cases, nine to date, in the Waikato town of Matamata.

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 514.

So again, a reminder that we are seeking physical separation not social separation, so be supportive, reach out to people and most importantly be kind.

As Capital and Coast Intensive Care Specialist Dr Paul Young said today in the media: ‘…if New Zealand pulls together as a community and stays at home … you will save more lives than I will in my entire career.’

76 new cases - total now 338

27 March 2020

There were 76 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the 24 hours to 9am this morning, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 338. 

The number of people hospitalised to date is 20, with eight still currently in hospital. The number of recovered cases is now 37, 10 who have recovered in the last 24 hours.

50 new cases - total now 205

25 March 2020

There are 50 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand as at 9.30 am this morning.

There were 47 confirmed and 3 probable cases in the past 24 hours.

In probable cases, the person has returned a negative laboratory result but the clinician treating the person has diagnosed them as a probable case due to their exposure history and clinical symptoms.  We have had 16 probable cases to date.

Probable cases are treated as if they were a positive laboratory confirmed case and the actions taken are the same as for confirmed cases - that is self-isolation and active contact tracing.

Therefore, our combined total of confirmed and probable cases is 205. We will continue to report the total combined confirmed and probable cases each day.

More details of the new cases, including the probable cases, will be provided via our website shortly and updated as new details emerge.

There are 22 individuals that we can confirm are recovered. We will update this number daily.

We have six people in hospital with COVID-19 - all in a stable condition.  There are three in Wellington hospital, one in Rotorua and two in Waikato. None are in ICU.

Three patients treated for COVID-19 were discharged yesterday, one each from Lakes District hospital in Queenstown, Waikato and Thames hospitals.

Our laboratories are working to process and report test results as quickly as possible. Yesterday we processed 1421 tests around the country.  The total number of tests processed to date is 9780.

Anyone who has been tested is expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test – that means effectively quarantining themselves from other members of their family.

We continue to test people who need to be tested.

Our public health staff actively investigate every case they are notified about.

What we are seeing is that the majority still have a link to overseas travel, including being in the same household as someone who has returned from overseas, or they have attended a known event or cluster of other cases (eg, World Hereford cattle conference in Queenstown or recent cruise ship travel) or are close contacts of a confirmed case.

Public health staff work fast to follow up clusters of confirmed cases from events.

We have now five confirmed cases within one school in Auckland – Marist College. The school is closed and has been closed all week.  All students and staff are being managed as close contacts.  That means they are expected to be in monitored self-quarantine for the next 14 days or 14 days since last contact with each other.

Staff and students should not congregate with anyone outside their home, and keep their physical distance from those within their household for this period. 

There are a number of staff members who are being tested or are about to be tested, as they have symptoms.

 All confirmed case are in self-isolation.  The school has been closed since Monday.

We have community transmission in New Zealand, confirmed in four cases and suspected in other cases we are investigating.

We move tonight to Alert level 4.  We will see a rise in cases for the next ten days, from people infected before today. The numbers will continue to increase before they turn around.  That turnaround will happen if we all do what is asked of us.  If we all play our part we will break the chain of community transmission. This will require all our efforts and I strongly urge all New Zealanders to play their part.

Stay at home, break the chain of transmission, save lives.

We encourage all New Zealanders, as we move to Alert level 4, in particular to look after themselves and to look after others.

40 new cases - total now 155

24 March 2020

There are 40 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand as at 10 am this morning.

We also have 3 new probable cases. In these cases, the person has returned a negative laboratory result, but the clinician treating the person has diagnosed them as a probable case due to their exposure history and clinical symptoms.

These cases are treated as if they were a positive laboratory confirmed case and the actions taken are the same as for confirmed cases, that is self-isolation and active contact tracing. 

Therefore, our combined total of confirmed and probable cases is 155.  We will now report the total combined confirmed and probable cases each day.

More details of the new cases, including the probable cases, will be provided via our website shortly and updated as new details emerge.

There are 12 cases that we can confirm are recovered.  We will be updating this number also on a daily basis.

Our laboratories are working to process and clear test results as quickly as possible.

Anyone who has been tested is expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test.

So far, we have information on around one third of the cases reported today and all of those have a link to overseas travel, including being in the same household as someone who has returned from overseas, or they have attended a known event where transmission was occurring (eg, World Hereford cattle conference in Queenstown recently) or are close contacts of a confirmed case.

Recent travel from overseas is still the main driver of our new infections.  Anybody who has recently travelled from overseas should already be in strict self-isolation.  Close household contacts should be particularly vigilant for any symptoms they may develop.

At this point we are classifying four cases as community transmission – three in Auckland and one in Wairarapa. In these cases, we have been unable to confirm a definite link to overseas travel or to an existing confirmed case. Contact tracing is underway for all cases.

We continue to look carefully at all new cases as more information is reported by public health services.

More than 900 laboratory tests were carried out yesterday, bringing the total number of completed tests to over 8300.

We continue to test people who need to be tested.

As you will all be aware, we are preparing to move to Alert level 4. There is a clear consensus that the sooner we do this the better and this gives New Zealand our best chance of breaking the chain of community transmission. This will require all our efforts and I strongly urge all New Zealanders to play their part.

New Zealand now at Alert Level 3

We are currently at Level 3, but are preparing to move to Level 4.

What that means for you is that New Zealanders who are outside of essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others outside of those in your households.

Click here for more information - Alert Level 3 - what does it mean?

 

What you must do

We are currently at Level 3, but are preparing to move to Level 4.

What that means for you is that New Zealanders who are outside of essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others outside of those in your households.

We know that this is a big ask. Eradicating the disease is vital to protect people’s health and ensure our health system can cope and look after New Zealanders who become sick.

You may go for a walk or exercise and enjoy nature, but keep a 2 metre distance from people at all times. You can take your children outside.

Food will always be available – production will continue, distribution will continue, supermarkets will continue. You will always have access to food.

Medicines will always be available.

Healthcare for those that need it will be available.

Your usual financial support, like benefits, will continue as normal.

Remember whatever you do must be solitary. We are asking that you only spend time with those who you are in self-isolation with, and keep your distance from all others at all times.

We need your support to protect New Zealand and eradicate COVID-19. Enforcement measures may be used to ensure everyone acts together, now.

 

 

36 new cases of COVID-19 - total now 102

Media release

23 March 2020

There are 36 new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand as at 8 am this morning. This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Zealand to 102.

More details of the new cases will be provided via our website shortly and updated as new details emerge.

Of the cases today over half are directly related to overseas travel, most of the remainder are close contacts of a previously confirmed case or associated with an event where there were confirmed cases such as the Queenstown World Hereford Cattle conference. None of the cases announced today appear to relate to community transmission.

Across all cases we have two that we cannot be certain where the infection came from and are therefore treating them as community transmission. The Prime Minister will update the country later the alert level as a result of these cases.

Contact tracing for these cases is ongoing.

More than 1100 laboratory tests were carried out yesterday, bringing the total number of completed tests to over 7400.

Most of our cases are still from people who have travelled to NZ from overseas.

An increasing number of cases are close contacts of people who have travelled from overseas.

We have our two cases of likely community transmission. This makes the core public health messages even more important: physical distancing, cough and sneeze etiquette, washing hands and more importantly not going out if you are unwell.

Also those who are over 70 years of age and people under 70 with pre-existing health conditions should look at working from home where that is possible.

All of us must play our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing is important but so is social connection. Physical distancing does not mean social distancing.

There are many ways we can continue to interact with friends and family around the country.

In fact, it’s now more important than ever to remember to frequently check in with friends, family, neighbours – people can and should be doing this over the phone or online.

14 new cases of COVID-19 - total now 53

21 March 2020
 

14 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the past 24 hours in New Zealand.

Locations are: Wellington region 4, Taranaki 1, Auckland 3, Waikato 1, Taupo 1, Manawatu 2, Nelson 2.

The total number of cases today is 53 confirmed and four probable.

Most of these cases are travel-related but as yet, in at least two instances, no link to overseas travel has been ascertained and we are continuing to investigate.

At this point we cannot rule out a risk of community transmission on these cases.

Details for each of these cases will be on the Ministry of Health website as soon as it is finalised. The website will continue to be updated as fuller information is received.

‘We always knew cases apparently not linked to imported cases would happen and we are prepared,’ says Director General of Health, says Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

‘It is more important now than ever that we continue with our efforts to trace and track individuals who may have been in contact with confirmed Covid-19 cases.

‘Physical distancing is fundamental to our collective response and we ask all New Zealanders to conscientiously play their part in following the guidelines relating to social contact and the ban on large gatherings, which can be found on the Ministry’s website.’

The number of new cases is in line with what we’ve seen in the past few days. Around 1500 tests were processed yesterday.

Three of the confirmed cases are in hospital. A man in his 60s is in Lakes District Hospital in Queenstown, a woman is in hospital in Nelson and another in North Shore Hospital. All three are stable.

Cruise ships

An Australian cruise ship, the Ruby Princess, which left New Zealand five days ago, has had three Australian passengers and one crew member test positive for COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health is in the process of contacting the 56 New Zealanders who were on board the ship, which includes 28 who have returned to New Zealand. These people would be covered by the requirement since 15 March for all travellers returning to New Zealand to go into self-isolation for 14 days. They are now considered as close contacts and are being followed up daily by health officials.

Details of the movement of that ship and the Celebrity Solstice, which had a confirmed COVID-19 case of a New Zealander on board can be found at Update on Ruby Princess and Celebrity Solstice cruises.

Providing support

This weekend is the first for the many people in self-isolation. It's important to remember that doesn’t mean social isolation.

It's really important for mental wellbeing to stay connected to people.

There are lots of ways to reach out to people by phone, social media, or online contact.

Talking to people and checking in on others keeps us all connected and that is more important than ever.

There is good information about this and other guidelines related to COVID-19 on the Ministry website which is frequently updated.

Thames COVID-19 community swabbing centre opens

20 March 2020

A dedicated community-based swabbing centre for COVID-19 is up and running in Thames and will be open in the weekends from 8.30am - 4.30pm, starting this weekend.

The testing station will be run from the clinic of Thames health provider Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki in Richmond Street.

At present all GP clinics can take swabs, but Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki CEO Riana Manuel says the Thames centre is being set up under the directive of the Ministry of Health to offer additional capacity to handle the influx of people that could potentially come through.

“The COVID-19 swabbing centre is for people who identify that they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 , particularly if they have been in contact who someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 virus and/or or has returned from overseas from any of the category countries mentioned in the Ministry  of Health website.”.”

Dr Martin Mikaere,  who will be managing the swabbing centre, noted thatsays the “The weekend swabbing centre clinic is for swabbing and testing for COVID-19 only.

“There will be no Nursing or GP appointments available and this will not be a time to organize organise prescriptions etc.  Those matters will need to be dealt with from Monday to Friday during our normal clinic hours.”

He says anybody who suspects they have COVID-19 must ring the clinic in advance and further directions will be given thereafter.

Coronavirus COVID-19 symptoms are similar to a range of other illnesses such as the flu and include fever, coughing, body aches, fatigue and difficulty breathing. Shortness of breath can also be a sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

Riana says the key message for people is that by doing the basic things right for themselves and their families first, they will inevitably help to look after the wider population.

“By following the Ministry of health guidelines, keeping ourselves as well as possible, keeping our hands,  and surfacesand, homes as clean as possible, we’ll reduce the rate of spread of this virus,” she says.

 “This virus does not have legs, it does not have wings, it only moves when we move it so let’s keep it contained”.

 “Please remember whānau, be kind, be calm, support each other but from a safe social distance. “

 “Ma te atua, e manaaki whānau.”

Swab results take between 24 and 36 hours.

If anyone is presenting with COVID-19 symptoms, please phone  Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki FREEPHONE 0508 835 676 (0508tekorowai).  Remember, do not come into the clinic.

The Ministry of Health has offered a dedicated, free phone number for people seeking coronavirus information and advice, self-isolation etc Healthline - 0800 358 5453 -  available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or for international SIMs +64 9 358 5453

Covid-19 Border Controls

Media release

19 March 2020
 

The Government announced further border measures today restricting entry to New Zealand.

As of 11.59pm 19 March 2020, only New Zealand residents and citizens (and their children and partners) are permitted to enter New Zealand. 

This includes the Realm countries (the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau), Australian citizens and permanent residents ordinarily resident in New Zealand, airline and marine crew.

There will be some exceptions, on a case by case basis, for example for essential health workers, humanitarian reasons, and others.

Click here for more information on Border Restrictions.

Ministry of Health Update - March 19 

Media release

19 March 2020
 

Eight new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand have been confirmed today, bringing the total number of cases to 28.

As with the cases confirmed yesterday, these new cases are all related to overseas travel. That’s an important point as it means, at this point there is no evidence of community transmission in New Zealand.

Public health staff are investigating the travel history of the cases so we can quickly identify all close contacts and isolate them.

Of these eight new cases, two are in Southland; two in Taranaki; one in Rotorua; two in Auckland and one in Northland.

Details for each of these cases, including flight information where applicable, will be on the Ministry of Health website as soon as possible.

One of the new cases is in hospital. Others are at home and self-isolating.

While it’s important to be alert to the increasing numbers of cases, we are expecting more, given the rapidly evolving situation overseas. We will continue to identify, test and isolate to ensure we can stamp COVID-19 out and slow it down.

‘We want to ensure New Zealand’s health system is able to continue delivering a whole range of care for all New Zealanders in addition to responding to the demands of COVID-19,’ says the Ministry's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Healthline will be provided with the seat numbers of the recent flights and will soon be able to advise anyone on these flights whether they are considered a close contact. Close contacts will be required to undertake 14 days of self-isolation, and will be monitored for symptoms.

Self-isolation

A reminder that self-isolation for cases or close contacts of cases is straight forward – stay at home or in one location.

Self-isolation for those who’ve returned home from overseas is essentially about physical distancing – you can still go for a walk around the block or for a bike ride or get out in the garden.

But it’s important to remember not to socialise or visit places where there are other people.

More information is on our website. Where possible, ask friends or family to drop off anything you need or order supplies online. Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect.

Some New Zealand companies are now offering a ‘contactless’ delivery option, where they notify you when they have delivered your order but remain nearby to ensure you receive it.

Supporting our mental wellbeing

It's important to not only look after our physical health but also to maintain our resilience and look after our mental wellbeing at the same time. The Ministry of Health has initiated a pyschosocial response to ensure people have the information they need to be able to take care of their mental wellbeing.

This includes ways of being able to talk about COVID-19 safely to children who may be experiencing distress. There is information available on our website and this will be added to in the coming days.

Physical distancing

As with all aspects of our response to COVID-19, we are regularly reviewing our advice on physical distancing.

The risk is still greatest within one metre but as a precautionary measure, the distance for contact tracing purposes within public health units will remain focused on those within a two metre distance of a confirmed or probable case.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 who are in strict isolation should maintain a two metre distance from others in the household.

Close household contacts of confirmed cases are at a higher risk of also developing COVID-19 and should also maintain a two metre distance.

Agencies are currently working together to develop the best ways to support physical distancing within community settings. Physical distancing in workplaces is one way we can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or the risk. For example, from next week the Ministry of Health will be working towards having a third of our people working from home at any one time. We'll rotate them through.

It’s about creating more space between people in the building and is part of getting physical distancing to be the norm, during our response to COVID-19.

All of us have a role to play in stopping further spread. Fundamental to New Zealand's response is not putting yourself or others at risk if you are unwell – not going to work or being out in public if you are sick. And not travelling if you are sick. We need to all unite against COVID-19.