Previous COVID 19 Public Updates

Contents

​Update Friday 22 May 2020​

The latest update from the Ministry of Health - Manatū Hauora:

Please note: There will be no live media briefing on Friday 22, Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 May. COVID-19 media updates on these days will be provided by a statement at 1pm. The next live media briefing is scheduled for Monday 25 May.​

• Today there is one new confirmed case of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand.

• The case is linked to the St Margaret's cluster in Auckland and is a household contact of an earlier case. Because of their connection to the earlier case, the person has been in isolation since the beginning of Level 4. This case is another example of the 'long tail' of COVID-19 and why ongoing vigilance is so important.

• Today's case means our total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is 1,154, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

• Our combined total of confirmed and probable cases is 1,504.

• Today we have recorded 97% of all confirmed and probable cases as having recovered from COVID-19, an increase of three on yesterday, for a total of 1,455.

• There are no additional deaths to report.

• There is one person receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19; they are in Middlemore and are not in ICU.

• Yesterday our laboratories completed 5,408 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 250,246.

• The NZ COVID Tracer app has now recorded 293,000 registrations.

• We continue to encourage as many people as possible to download the app – it will help us identify, trace, test and isolate any cases of COVID-19. You can download this from our website: http://tracing.covid19.govt.nz

• Heading into Saturday and Sunday, a reminder that the maximum number of people who can gather remains at 10 for now, and that this applies to both private and public gatherings including church and faith based ones. The only exceptions to this are funerals and tangihanga registered by funeral directors with the Ministry of Health.

• I know many people, including those of faith, want to move as quickly as possible to increase the size of their gatherings. I know how important it is for people to be able to practise their faith together.

• As we head into the weekend, I want to acknowledge once again the support and patience of New Zealanders right through Levels 4 and 3.

• The number of people at gatherings will be one of the specific issues being reconsidered by Cabinet on Monday.

For more information visit: www.covid19.govt.nz

Update Thursday 21 May 2020​

The latest updates from the Director-General of Health:

• There are no new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today.

• This means New Zealand’s combined total of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1,503, of which 1,153 are confirmed cases of COVID-19.

• We have 1,452 people reported as having recovered from COVID-19, 5 more people than yesterday. This is 97% of all confirmed and probable cases.

• There is just one person receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19. They are not in ICU.

• We still have 16 significant clusters.

• There are no additional deaths to report.

• 6,113 tests were processed yesterday. The total number of tests completed to date is 243,838.

• Kiwis are encouraged to get their flu vaccine as it’s starting to get colder. We have access to 1.76 million southern hemisphere vaccines in New Zealand.

• Everyone has been able to go and get vaccinated, but we will keep some vaccines back for high-risk groups in the coming months like those who are pregnant.

• We’ve also ordered 360,000 doses of the northern hemisphere flu vaccine. The vaccine will afford some protection for Kiwis, although it will not be a full match for all 4 southern hemisphere flu strains.

• Since the start of Alert Level 2, 650 funerals and tangihanga have been registered with the Ministry of Health. This process seems to be working well and is enabling friends and family to come together to grieve.

• 236,000 Kiwis have downloaded the NZ COVID Tracer application as of midday today. If you haven’t yet downloaded it, we encourage you to do so: http://tracing.covid19.govt.nz

• Bars and pubs reopen today. While we are at Alert Level 2 they do so under the requirements that are already in place for hospitality venues – single server, seated and separated. It’s a great time to catch up with friends, but not a time to practice any new dance moves.

• Please support your local businesses and support their staff by following the rules. Please give your correct contact details, this is about protecting your health and that of your friends and family.​

More information on our website: www.covid19.govt.nz​​

Update Wednesday 20 May 2020

The latest updates from the Director-General of Health:

• There are no new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today.

• This means New Zealand's combined total of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1,503, of which 1,153 are confirmed cases of COVID-19.

• We have 1,447 people reported as having recovered from COVID-19, 5 more people than yesterday. This is 96% of all confirmed and probable cases.

• There is just one person receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19. They are not in ICU.

• We still have 16 significant clusters.

• There are no additional deaths to report.

• 4,882 tests were processed yesterday. The total number of tests completed to date is 238,725.

• The NZ COVID Tracer has been formally launched today. It acts like a digital diary that allows people to scan QR codes at places they visit to keep a record of where they have been.

• Kiwis are encouraged to download the app, it's another tool in our toolbox to assist our contact tracing efforts should we need to. You can download the app from: http://tracing.covid19.govt.nz

• The only information shared with the Ministry of Health are your contact details. The record of where you have been is only stored on your phone – it is up to you to share that information should you need to.

• 92,000 people have already downloaded and signed up on the app.

• MBIE is contacting 800,000 businesses around New Zealand with information about how they can register.

• Currently the app doesn't replace but complements the actions that businesses are taking to record who has been on their premises. Subsequent releases of the app will have additional functionality.

• The team is working to resolve a few issues experienced mainly on Android phones. We are also working with other tracing app developers to make sure there can be connection between the apps.

• There has been agreement at the World Health Assembly for an independent evaluation of the COVID-19 response. New Zealand will be willing participants in any review. We also play an important role in making sure that our Pacific partners have access to vaccines if one is developed.

For more information visit www.covid19.govt.nz

​Update Tuesday 19 May 2020

The latest updates from the Director-General of Health:

• There are no new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand today.

• However our total number of cases has risen by 4, as the cases that were tested in Uruguay in early April and who were aboard the Greg Mortimer cruise ship have been officially added to our reported numbers.We received confirmation that Uruguay had not reported these cases to the WHO. All 4 cases have recovered.

• This means New Zealand's combined total of confirmed and probable cases is now 1,503, of which 1,153 are confirmed cases of COVID-19.

• We have 1,442 people reported as having recovered from COVID-19, 9 more people than yesterday. This is 96% of all confirmed and probable cases.

• There are two people receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19. Neither of these patients are in ICU.

• We still have 16 significant clusters.

• There are no additional deaths to report.

• The total number of tests completed to date is 233,843.

• Overnight the Director-General participated in the World Health Assembly.

• In the opening session there were a number of statements from international leaders including China, Germany and France. There was a common theme expressed which was the strong support for global cooperation.

• The Director-General of the WHO announced he intends to initiate an independent evaluation of the COVID-19 response.

• There was also an agreement that the focus for the WHO and member states should be on fighting the pandemic now.

• The meeting is about to pause and will reconvene tonight, and the lengthy resolution on COVID-19 will be considered.

• Today is World Family Doctor Day. A big thanks to the 5,500 GPs around New Zealand for the work they do every day, especially over the past few months as they adapted to COVID-19 and provide healthcare through the different alert levels.

• Finally, as the Prime Minister has signalled, tomorrow we will see the launch of a new app that will be part of our contact tracing efforts. More details will be available tomorrow.​

Update Monday 18 May 2020​

Latest updates from the Director-General Health and the Police Commissioner

Dr Bloomfield

• There are no new cases of COVID-19 to report today

• This means New Zealand's combined total of confirmed and probable cases is 1,499, of which 1,149 are confirmed cases of COVID-19

• There's no change in number of people who have recovered, 1,433, this is 96% of all confirmed and probable cases

• Significant clusters remains at 16 with no additional cases

• There are no additional deaths to report.

• The total number of tests completed to date is 230,718 and there have been 2,570 lab tests processed

• This will include a review of the pandemic and the response to it

• With regards to church and faith-based gatherings:

There's been great support from churches and faith based organisations from Alert Levels 4 through 2.

We understand how important it is to practise faith. The limit on gatherings is currently 10, this applies to public and private gatherings. This will be reviewed next Monday, 25 May.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster

• 200 - 350 reports of breaches per day (lower than the 700 - 1000 reports under Alert Level 3)

• 983 breaches were reported to Police, mostly through the 105 phone line

• 700 were for businesses, 250 related to mass gatherings

• Complaints related to retail businesses not having contact tracing, but retail businesses are not required customers, but they must contact trace workers

• Other complaints relate to not maintaining proper distancing measures in retail

• The amount of gatherings was lower than in previous weekends and the focus remains on education, encouragement and engagement

• Recorded a total of 30 breaches, 29 of those resulted in warnings, 1 prosecution

• There's been some commentary about powers of entry available to Police, there has been no entry of premises using those warrantless powers

• Powers are narrowed from what has been in place in the State of Emergency and previous Health Orders

Frontline staff are required to consult with their local command centre or national command centre before executing a warrantless power of entry

• There's an obligation to report to the commissioner should these powers be used and Marae Consultation Committee must also be consulted before this is executed - this is unlikely that the powers are likely to be used with any frequency​

Update Friday 15 May 2020

The latest update from the Ministry of Health - Manatū Hauora:

• Today we are reporting one new confirmed case of COVID-19.

• This means New Zealand's combined total of confirmed and probable cases is now 1,498, of which 1,148 are confirmed.

• Today's confirmed case is linked to the Marist cluster in Auckland and was identified through recent follow-up testing of the school community. The person first had symptoms nearly two months ago and had a previous negative test. The result is considered a 'weak positive' and the person, who has been in isolation through the lockdown period, is not considered infectious now.

• We have previously identified instances of 'weak positive' cases, which can occur some time after an individual's illness.

• We now have 1,421 people reported as having recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 10 on yesterday. This is 95% of all confirmed and probable cases.

• There are now just 56 'active' cases across the country.

• Today there are two people receiving hospital level care for COVID-19 – one each in Auckland and Middlemore hospitals. Neither are in ICU.

• We still have 16 significant clusters.

• There are no additional deaths to report.

• There were 7,174 laboratory tests processed yesterday, which brings the total number of tests completed to 216,787.

• Today's confirmed case reinforces the 'long tail' of the COVID-19 outbreak in New Zealand.

• While we do not consider this case to be infectious, it does demonstrate once again that we must stay vigilant.

• COVID-19 will continue to linger, so we need to keep consistently doing the things which will help keep all New Zealanders safe.

For more information visit: www.covid19.govt.nz​​

Update Thursday 14 May 2020​​

Changes to the number of people at funerals and tangihanga​

The Government has announced changes to the number of people who can attend funerals and tangihanga at Alert Level 2.

These changes balance the significant risk of COVID-19 spreading with the need for people to come together to grieve their loved ones. 

At Alert Level 2, funeral directors can seek approval to allow up to 50 people to attend a funeral or tangihanga. The Ministry of Health must be satisfied that a range of public health measures can consistently be met, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene and no food and drink congregations afterwards.

Read the media release on the Beehive website(external link)

Ministry of Health guidance on deaths, funerals and tangihanga(external link)

The latest update from the 

Ministry of Health - Manatū Hauora:

• For the third consecutive day, we are reporting no new cases of COVID-19.

• This means New Zealand's combined total of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1,497, of which 1,147 are confirmed.

• We now have 1,411 people reported as having recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 9 on yesterday. This is 94% of all confirmed and probable cases.

• Today there are two people receiving hospital level care for COVID-19 – one each in Auckland and Middlemore hospitals. Neither are in ICU.

• We still have 16 significant clusters.

• There are no additional deaths to report.​

For more information visit www.covid19.govt.nz

​Update Wednesday 13 May 2020​​

New Alert Level 2 advice for people at risk of COVID-19

Some people with underlying medical conditions and people over 70 are more at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

When we move to Alert Level 2, there will be more freedom to move around and reconnect with friends and family. People at risk of COVID-19 will need to take some extra precautions when out and about to keep themselves safe.  

Alert Level 2 information for people at risk of COVID-19

The latest update from the Prime Minister and Director-General of Health:

• Today we are reporting no new cases of COVID-19.

• Today's combined total of confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases remains at 1,497.

• We now have 1,402 people reported as having recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 4 on yesterday. This is 94% of all confirmed and probable cases.

• Today there are just two people receiving hospital level care – one each in Middlemore and North Shore hospitals. Neither is in ICU. There are no additional deaths to report.

• We still have 16 significant clusters, four of which are now closed.

• Yesterday our laboratories processed 5,961 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 203,045 - just over 4% of New Zealanders.

• While we're looking forward to returning to our near normal lives at Alert Level 2, it's vital we continue to model the behaviours that will keep COVID-19 out of our communities.

For more information visit www.covid19.govt.nz

Update Tuesday 12 May 2020​

​Council Services at Level 2

To see information on Council services operating at Alert Level 2, please click here.​

The latest update from the Prime Minister and Director-General of Health:

• Today we are reporting no new confirmed cases of COVID-19.

• Today's combined total of confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases remains at 1,497.

• We now have 1,398 people reported as having recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 12 on yesterday. This is 93% of all confirmed and probable cases.

• Today there are just two people receiving hospital level care – one each in Middlemore and North Shore hospitals. Neither is in ICU. There are no additional deaths to report.

• We still have 16 significant clusters, four of which are now closed. A number of clusters have not had any new cases for 14-28 days and will be closed soon.

• The wage subsidy has paid $10.7 billion to 1.75 million New Zealanders to ensure workers can remain employed at their place of work and so they can be at the ready when their businesses open back up.

• At Alert Level 2 more people will be returning to work. Please talk to your employer to see if you can continue to work from home or if there is some flexibility around starting and finishing times. This will help take the pressure off public transport.

• If you are returning to work plan your trip, keep your distance and track your journey. If you are sick, stay at home. Please be patient and be kind on public transport – it will take a period of adjustment to Level 2.

For more information visit www.covid19.govt.nz

Update Monday 11 May 2020

Today three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported.

Update from the Prime Minister on COVID-19 Alert Levels:

• The Prime Minister acknowledged the sacrifices New Zealanders have made over the last six and a half weeks in order to beat COVID-19.

• There are those who have lost loved ones and couldn't mourn together, children who have missed birthdays, those who have cancelled weddings, those who have lost jobs and businesses that have closed. But New Zealanders were resolute, we formed a team of 5 million and built a wall of protection.

• Our case numbers have remained low in the past week. None of that has been through luck but through hard work.

• We've built up our health system up. We can now process 12,000 tests a day and 3.5% of all New Zealanders have been tested.

• A lot of work has gone into building up our contact tracing capability. We can now contact trace 185 cases a day and can call 10,000 people each day through our contact tracing centre.

• For contact tracing speed is of the essence. The clock starts as soon as someone feels sick. If you get a sniffle, seek advice and get a test.

• We are still recording viruses most days and there is still a chance of silent spread in the future. We must continue to have strong border controls, hand hygiene and physical distancing. It's our wall of defence.

• The Prime Minister and Cabinet have agreed that we are ready to move in to Alert Level 2 on Thursday but we need to do so as safely as possible.

• On Thursday, retail, malls, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, and other public spaces like playgrounds and gyms can reopen.

• You will begin to be able to move around New Zealand but please space yourself out.

• On Monday 18 May schools will reopen to students, this will give schools some time to prepare and communicate with parents.

• On Thursday 21 May, bars and pubs will be able to open with all requirements set out last week. We have left bars until last as they do pose the most risk. While we have put in places measures to make hospitality as safe as possible, these few extra days will allow us to lock in the gains of the past few weeks.

• In 10 days we will have opened most businesses in New Zealand, our economy will be moving again. There does have to be a new normal as we will be around more people, we can do that if we balance it with physical distancing and keep our social gatherings small.

• We need to limit our social gatherings for now. Parties, big social events, or anything designed for big celebrations will need to be limited to 10 people for now.

• If you want to head to a restaurant or bar they can't take bookings of more than 10 people. This is because if something goes wrong with a group of 10 it's much easier to contain and to contact trace.

• We need to strike the balance between getting the economy moving but also ensure we've got the next stage right.

• Travel will be allowed again. Go and see your mum, but don't turn it into a big family reunion when you get there.

• The Government will look at lifting these restrictions in two weeks. If our numbers still look good the gatherings size may increase.​

• For now we are in Level 3 for just two more days, when we wake up on Thursday remember: Play it safe and protect the wall of defence we have created.​

Update Friday 8 May 2020​

• Today there are 2 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are no additional deaths.

• One case is linked to St Margaret's cluster. This is a Waitematā DHB staff member who had been looking after confirmed cases. She has been in isolation and affected areas of Waitakere Hospital remain closed. The other case is a previously known probable case that has now been confirmed.

• The total combined number of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 1,490.

• 1,347 people have recovered – 90% of our confirmed and probable cases are now recovered.

• 7,812 tests were processed yesterday. This brings the total number of tests to 175,835. New Zealand's testing capacity is now at 12,535 tests per day. Testing remains an essential part of our elimination strategy.

• 3 people are currently in hospital, one each in Auckland City, Middlemore and North Shore Hospitals – none are in ICU.

• There are still 16 significant clusters – 3 of these 16 clusters are closed.

• We are still in Level 3, we need to keep working and learning from home, parties are still not okay, and we need to remain local.

• When it's safe to move to Level 2 a significant amount of activity will start across the country, we will need to play it safe.

• Alert Level 2 has been designed to get the economy back up and running in the safest possible way.

• We need to keep up the amazing work that everyone has done to stamp out COVID-19, we have to stay the course.

• The wage subsidy scheme has continued to keep 1.7 million New Zealanders in jobs.

• Next week's Budget will be very different to other years; we're having to respond very quickly to the needs of New Zealanders. This Budget will be just one moment on our road to recovery. We will continue to work every day to get through this and thrive again.

• The return of professional sports at Level 2 needs to be handled carefully to keep everyone safe. It will take time. Community sport is also possible at Level 2 – we shouldn't rush into this. Take the time to make sure everyone can stay safe with physical distancing and good hygiene.​

Update Thursday 7 May 2020

New Alert Level 2 information released

The Government has released more information on how Alert Level 2 will work. 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. 

See here for New Alert Level 2 information​ and an Overview of the Alert Level System.

More key updates from today are below:

• Today there is 1 new confirmed case of COVID-19.

• The confirmed case is linked to the Matamata cluster. The Waikato DHB is asking anyone who thinks they may be connected to this cluster to seek advice about being tested.
• The total combined number of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 1,489.

• 1,332 people have recovered – 89% of our confirmed and probable cases are now recovered.

• 7,323 tests were processed yesterday. This brings the total number of tests to 168,023.

• 2 people are currently in hospital, one in Auckland City and one in Middlemore Hospital – neither are in ICU.

• There are still 16 significant clusters – 3 of these 16 clusters are closed.

• For six weeks our lives have been completely different. We've been going hard and going early to win the battle against COVID-19. You should be proud of what we've achieved.

• We are still at Alert Level 3. On Monday Cabinet will consider when we move to Alert Level 2. We will consider the latest data and advice. We will make a balanced decision; but we can't risk the gains we have made.​​

Update Wednesday 6 May 2020

The latest updates from the Prime Minister and the Director General of Health.

Sadly, Dr Bloomfield reported another death linked to COVID-19. A woman in her sixties who was a resident at Rosewood Rest Home. She had lived at Rosewood since 2011 and was a much-loved member of the Rosewood family. A staff member was there to comfort her as she passed away. Our thoughts go out to her friends, family and loved ones today and in the weeks and months ahead.

• Today there are 2 new cases of COVID-19. 1 new confirmed case and 1 new probable case.

• The confirmed case is linked to the Marist College cluster. A student who has been in lockdown returned a weak positive test, signalling that they were in the late stages of the infection. It is likely the person is not infectious. This was detected through community testing of more than 250 people linked to the Marist College community.

• Today's probable case is linked to the St Margaret's Rest Home cluster. This probable case is a household contact connected to a known case.

• It will be important to understand the transmission path of any new cases we find in the coming days.

• The total combined number of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 1,488.

• 88% of our confirmed and probable cases are now recovered.

• 4,772 tests were processed yesterday. This brings the total number of tests to 160,700.

• 2 people are currently in hospital, one in Auckland City and one in Middlemore Hospital – neither are in ICU.

• There are still 16 significant clusters – 3 of these 16 clusters are now closed.

• We need everyone to stick to the plan. Not doing so undermines all the good work we've done – do not give it an inch.

• Our decision to go hard and early on the health front has been our best economic response.

• The Trade minister has announced that the 21 APEC economies have committed to working together to ensure trade and investment continues to flow. This will promote a stable trading environment for our food producers and ensure access to medical supplies.

• Employment figures released this morning, covering the period before the worst of the COVID-19 impact, show our economy's underlying strength heading in to COVID-19.

• Obviously, a huge amount has changed since then and this global crisis will contribute to unemployment rising, but we will continue to support people, to protect and grow jobs and support incomes.​

For more information visit: www.covid19.govt.nz​​​

Update Tuesday 5 May 2020

The latest updates from the Prime Minister and the Director General of Health.

• Today there are no new cases of COVID-19. 1 previously probable case has changed to not a case.

• The total combined number of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 1,486.

• 1,302 cases have recovered – 88% of our cases are now recovered.

• 3,232 tests were processed yesterday. This brings the total number of tests to 155,928.

• 4 people are currently in hospital, none are in intensive care. There have been no additional deaths.

• There are still 16 significant clusters – 3 of these are now closed.

• 5 previous cases have now been linked to the St Margaret’s cluster.

• Zero new cases for a second day is very encouraging. Be proud New Zealand, but we must stick to the plan. The worst thing we could do is celebrate success early and jeopardise our gains.

• Today is International Midwives’ Day – thank you to all the midwives and lead maternity carers in New Zealand. There are 3,200 of these essential workers in New Zealand. 6,000 babies were delivered during the lockdown period.

• Today is also World Hand Hygiene Day – every day should now be this! This is a good reminder of the importance of this simple action that prevents passing on COVID-19 and other infections.

• Achieving 0 cases 2 days in a row is the result of New Zealanders’ commitment. It points to our lockdown doing what we wanted it to do.

• The Prime Minister’s message remains the same – don’t do anything that snatches our potential gains at this stage. Stay home, stay in your bubble, maintain physical distancing.

• The Australian National Cabinet meeting is still underway – not much can be said yet. A statement will be released on the issues discussed once the meeting ends.

• Innovations are helping to get our economy moving – thank you to Greg and Sam from Wellington’s Centrepoint who have willingly changed their work hours to match the ferries timetables.

For more information visit: www.covid19.govt.nz​​​

Update Monday 4 May 2020

Support for tertiary students to learn online

The Government has announced more support for tertiary learners to access digital devices and internet connections. Many tertiary programmes are being delivered online in response to COVID-19. This new $20 million fund will help eligible tertiary students continue their study via online distance learning.

Students should continue to contact their tertiary providers to discuss the support they need. You can read more here.

More updates from today's media brief can be found below;​

• There are no new cases of COVID-19. 1 probable case has been reclassified as a confirmed case following a positive test. There is no change to the total number of confirmed and probable cases which stands at 1,487. There have been no additional deaths.

• In total there were 2,473 tests yesterday. There were fewer tests due to the weekend. Our total number of tests is 152,696.

• 1,276 cases have recovered, an increase of 10 from yesterday. 86% of all cases are considered recovered.

• There are currently 7 people in hospital. None are in ICU.

• There are still 16 significant clusters, no change from yesterday. 3 clusters are now considered closed as there's no longer transmission of virus within the cluster as it has been 28 days since those clusters had a new case.​

Update Friday 1 May 2020

New loan scheme to support small business

The Government will provide interest free loans for a year to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 economic shock to support their immediate cashflow needs. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme will provide assistance of up to $100,000 to firms employing 50 or fewer full time equivalent employees.

Loans will be interest free if they are paid back within a year. After that, the interest rate will be 3% for a maximum term of five years. Repayments are not required for the first two years. Applications will open on 12 May and be managed by Inland Revenue.​ To read more click here.

Some more key points from today briefing are below:

• Today there are 3 new confirmed cases. 1 case is linked to overseas travel, 1 is linked to a known case and 1 is still being investigated.​

• 5,328 tests were processed yesterday. This brings the total number of tests to 139,898.

• There have been 281 breaches under Alert Level 3, of those 77 have been prosecuted. 181 warnings have been issued and 24 youth referrals issued. Most New Zealanders are doing the right thing.​

Update Thursday 30 April 2020

Tax changes to be introduced to help small businesses

A significant package of tax reforms will be pushed through all stages in Parliament today to throw a cash flow lifeline to small to medium enterprises (SMEs). To read more about the package click here.

Can you extend your "bubble"?​

Wondering if you can extend your bubble out a bit? You can extend your bubble by one household to reconnect with close family/whānau, bring in caregivers, or support isolated people. Don't extend your bubble if you don't need to, keep it small and exclusive. It's not a time for visiting friends and family. Protect your bubble to keep everyone safe.​​

See more key updates from today below.

• Today there are 3 new confirmed cases. 1 is linked to an existing case and the 2 others are still being investigated. We have reclassified one probable case as not a case.

• An amended Health Act Order will now allow people to travel and care for their pets and other animals. Vet services are also permitted to operate as contact services.

• 400,000 New Zealanders have returned to work at Alert Level 3, 75% of the economy is now back up and operating.

• After a spike in breaches during the first few hours of Alert Level 3, things have settled down. If you see breaches please report them.​

• If you are participating in contactless trade, please support our local businesses who are doing it tough at the moment.​​

Update Wednesday 29 April 2020

​​New Zealand moved to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday 27 April 2020.

New tool launched to connect employers and job seekers

The Ministry for Social Development has announced several initiatives to help connect employers and job seekers. The Keep New Zealand Working online recruitment tool connects job seekers directly to the employer making it quicker and easier for people to find work. The tool, now live, also provides online training courses.

​To read more about the initiatives click here.​

More key updates from today are below:

• Today there is 1 new confirmed case and 1 new probable case of COVID-19.

• The confirmed case is in quarantine and can be traced to international travel, the probable case is associated with an existing case.

• The total combined number of cases in New Zealand is 1,474. 1,229 cases have recovered – 83% of our cases are now recovered.

• 2,637 tests were processed yesterday. This brings the total number of tests to 128,073.

• 6 people are currently in hospital, none are in intensive care.

• There are still 16 significant clusters.

• We must stay vigilant, maintain the guidelines around physical distancing, keep within our bubbles, practice good hand hygiene and not go out when unwell.​

Update Tuesday 28 April 2020

​​New Zealand moved to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday 27 April 2020.

  • ​Today there are 2 new confirmed cases and 1 new probable case of COVID-19.​
  • We will still see some cases under the ‘elimination’ goal. It’s not completely eradicated.
  • At Alert Level 3 please do not congregate outside cafes, carparks etc. Please maintain the physical distancing. We do not want to see the rebound that has happened in other countries.

New helpline for businesses

The Government has launched a new helpline to provide all NZ businesses with advice and to connect them with additional support.

There is now a free helpline service for all New Zealand businesses. It can offer you:

  • specific advice and access to Government-funded business support
  • advice on what Alert Level 3 means for your business
  • general business advice and access to online resources and webinars
  • connections to business advisory services.
To find out more call 0800 500 362 (North Island), or 0800 50 50 96 (South Island).

New Alert Level 3 guidance for seniors and others at risk

People over 70 and other higher-risk groups have the same rights as everyone else to go to work, to exercise and to access essential services like supermarkets and banks.

While the basic rules under Alert Level 3 are the same for everybody, people over 70 and people with specific health conditions need to be especially careful.

If you are at risk, talk to your employer and agree on work and leave arrangements. The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme has been expanded to all businesses, organisations, and self-employed people to support this.​ For more information click here.​

Information for employees at Level 3​

If possible you must work from home at Alert Level 3.

If you can't work from home, workplaces can open if they can operate safely – maintaining physical distancing and high hygiene standards.

You must stay home if you are unwell.

If you have concerns about your workplace, your first step is to talk to your employer. If you can't resolve the issue together, you may wish to contact your health and safety representative or raise a concern with WorkSafe.

Visit the Employment New Zealand website for more guidance on returning to the workplace: www.employment.govt.nz/coronavirus-workplace

Life at Alert Level 3

We need to move slowly and cautiously, we must make sure that we don't let the virus run away on us again. To be successful we must hunt down the last few cases of the virus.

At Alert Level 3 we will see more New Zealanders safely return to work, some businesses will be allowed to open and more recreational opportunities available, however this is not a return to pre-COVID life, this will come one day, but for now our team of 5 million need to continue to help stop the spread.

We will be at Alert Level 3 for two weeks before Cabinet will decide our next steps.​​​

COVID-19 Alert Level 3: Council Services

To view what Council services are safely operating at Alert Level 3 please click here.​​​

Update Friday 24 April 2020​

The latest updates from the Finance Minister and Director of Public Health – Day 30 of Alert Level 4:

In her briefing today Dr Caroline McElnay sadly reported the death of a man in his sixties, a resident at Rosewood Rest Home in Christchurch. Our heartfelt sympathies and thoughts are with his family, friends and loved ones.

• Today there are 2 new confirmed cases and 3 new probable cases of COVID-19. The total combined number of cases in New Zealand is 1,456. 1095 cases have recovered – this is an increase of 30 from yesterday.

• A record number of 6,961 tests were processed yesterday. This brings the total number of tests to 108,277.

• 8 people are currently in hospital. 1 person is in ICU in Middlemore Hospital.

• There are still 16 significant clusters.

• The Finance Minister reiterated that a strong public health response is the best way to help the economy – that’s why we went hard and went early.

• We have seen 30,000 more people on Jobseeker Support from Work and Income, but we need to remember that this is less than 1 percent of the population.

• The wage subsidy scheme is continuing to support over 1.6 million New Zealanders.

• The vast majority of business owners who accessed the wage subsidy scheme have been using this to support their employees.

• The Government will be ensuring this money has been used as intended, and businesses will have to repay this if they have provided false information. An audit process will be overseen by the Ministry of Social Development’s fraud team.

• Next week we will see more businesses beginning to open up, with 400,00 more people returning to work.

For more information visit: www.covid19.govt.nz

Update Thursday 23 April 2020


In his briefing today Dr Ashley Bloomfield sadly reported the death of two New Zealanders. One woman in her sixties has passed away in Dunedin Hospital, arrangements were made for her family to visit her last night. The second death is a man in his seventies who was a resident at Rosewood Rest Home, Christchurch. Our sympathies and thoughts are with their families, friends and loved ones.​

New Zealanders asked to stay home for Anzac Day


The government is asking people to stay home for Anzac Day to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
Anzac Day services will not go ahead this year due to the restrictions in place in response to COVID-19. 

This year, we’re encouraging New Zealanders to mark Anzac Day from within your bubble instead.

One way you can do this is by joining the New Zealand Defence Force and RSA's #StandAtDawn campaign. This involves standing at your letterbox, front door, lounge room, balcony, or driveway at 6am this Saturday.

Learn more about the #StandAtDawn campaign or visit our Facebook event here.​

• Today there are 2 new confirmed cases and 1 new probable case of COVID-19. However, there is no change to the total number of COVID-19 cases which remains at 1,451. This is due to the three cases reported yesterday being initially tested in Uruguay and may have already been reported to the WHO. 1036 cases have recovered – this is an increase of 32 from yesterday.

• A record number of 6,480 tests were processed yesterday. This brings the total number of tests to 101,277.

• 8 people are currently in hospital. 1 person is in ICU in Middlemore Hospital.

• GPs will continue to be open and will continue to conduct virtual consultations where possible. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 please call your GP or Healthline.

• Civil Defence groups are working to support vulnerable New Zealanders - keeping people fed, warm and well.

• Hunting will be allowed at Alert Level 3 as long as you stay in your in region, stay in your bubble and please don’t put yourself at risk of needing rescue. Public conservation land is closed for tramping and hunting. On private land you will need landowner’s permission.

• The duck hunting season was due to begin on May 2. The duck hunting season will instead go ahead in the second weekend after we move to Alert Level 2.

For more information visit: www.covid19.govt.nz​​

Update Wednesday 22 April 2020

​In his briefing today Dr Ashley Bloomfield sadly reported the death of a woman linked to COVID-19. The woman was in her eighties and was a resident of the Rosewood Rest Home in Christchurch. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and loved ones today and in the days to come.

It is okay to go into your business premises now to do limited, safe activities to begin preparing for Alert Level 3​

Businesses and other organisations can only:

  • clear, unpack and sort freight
  • clean your premises, and 
  • rearrange your workplace for physical distancing between workers. 

Regular maintenance, and preparing for click and collect should wait until Alert Level 3.

You can travel within your region to prepare. You cannot travel to another region to go into your premises until Alert Level 3.

Bringing employees in to help prepare

You can ask the smallest number of workers possible to come in to help prepare, if you are meeting all health and safety and public health requirements for Alert Level 4.

Everyone must stay 2 metres apart, and follow appropriate hygiene measures.

Remember that Anzac Day is this weekend, and the normal Holidays Act rules apply.​

More key points from today:

• Today there are 6 new cases of COVID-19, they are all confirmed cases. 3 of these cases are associated with overseas travel and 3 are related to existing clusters. The total number of COVID-19 cases in New Zealand to date is 1,451. 1036 cases have recovered – this is an increase of 32 from yesterday.

• 11 people are currently in hospital. 2 people in ICU, 1 each in Middlemore and Dunedin Hospitals. Both are in a stable condition.

• There are still 16 significant clusters, 5 more COVID-19 cases have been linked to these clusters.

• A record number of 5,289 tests were processed yesterday. This brings the total number of tests to 94,503.

• New Zealand is still at Alert Level 4, while there are things we're looking forward to at Alert Level 3, we must not risk the gains that we have made.

For more information visit our website: www.covid19.govt.nz

Update Tuesday 21 April 2020

Today Dr Ashley Bloomfield sadly reported the death of a women linked to COVID-19. The woman was in her seventies and lived in St Margaret's Hospital and Rest Home in Te Atatu, Auckland. Our hearts go out to her family, friends and loved ones. This brings the total number of deaths to 13.​

More key points from today are below:

• Today there are 2 new confirmed cases and 3 probable cases. A total of 5 new cases. All of these cases are linked to existing cases. The total number of COVID-19 cases in New Zealand to date is 1,445. 1006 cases have recovered – this is an increase of 32 from yesterday.

• 12 people are currently in hospital. 3 people in ICU, 1 each in Middlemore, Dunedin, North Shore. None are in critical condition.

• There are still 16 significant clusters, 4 more COVID-19 cases have been linked to these clusters.

• There 3,203 tests yesterday have been 89,503 total tests to date. We will continue some community testing this week, particularly in Tairāwhiti, Taranaki and Northland.

• We remain at Alert Level 4, we will wake up to Alert Level 3 next Tuesday 28 April.

• Education Minister Chris Hipkins discussed the rules around schools during alert level three and explained what will be happening this week, in the lead up to schools opening safely.

Under alert level 3, most children will be learning from home still. Schools will only be open for families that need to have their children at school, he said.

"Education for students in years 11 to 13 will continue remotely," Hipkins said.

Universities will be mostly remote, only allowing staff and students to only attend when crucial - such as hands-on research.

More information on this can be found on the official website https://covid19.govt.nz/

Update​​ Monday 20 ​April 2020 

Moving to Alert Level 3 on 28 April

The Government has announced New Zealand will move out of Alert Level 4 lockdown at 11.59pm on Monday 27 April. We are still in Alert Level 4 until then.

We will hold at Alert Level 3 for two weeks, before Cabinet reviews how we are tracking and makes further decisions on 11 May.

The Government's decision today allows many businesses to get going again, and for many people to go back to work.

Schools will be able to open soon after we move into Alert Level 3.

At Alert Level 3 we will need to be even more vigilant. All of us will need to unite against COVID-19 by sticking to the rules.

The Golden Rules for life at Alert Level 3

  1. Stay home. If you are not at work, school, exercising or getting essentials then you must be at home, the same as at level 4.
  2. Work and learn from home if you can. We still want the vast majority of people working from home, and children and young people learning from home. At risk students and staff should also stay at home, and they will be supported to do so. Early learning centres and schools will physically be open for up to Year 10 for families that need them.
  3. Make your business covid-19 safe. Covid-19 has spread in workplaces, so the quid pro quo of being able to open is doing it in a way that doesn't spread the virus.
  4. Stay regional. You can exercise at parks or beaches within your region, but the closer to home the better. Activities must be safe – keep 2 metres away from anybody not in your bubble. Make minimal trips.
  5. Keep your bubble as small as possible. If you need to, you can expand your bubble a small amount to bring in close family, isolated people or caregivers.
  6. Wash your hands often with soap. Then dry them. Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  7. If you are sick, stay at home and quickly seek advice from your GP or Healthline about getting a test. There is no stigma to COVID-19. We will only be successful if everyone is willing to play their part in finding it wherever it is.

This week businesses will be allowed to get ready to open, including employers re-entering premises to receive stock if necessary - but we ask that in doing so they stick to social distancing and their bubbles.

The Golden Rules for businesses at Alert Level 3

  1. If your business requires close physical contact it can't operate.
  2. Your staff should work from home if they can.
  3. Customers cannot come onto your premises. Unless you are a supermarket, dairy, petrol station, pharmacy or permitted health service.
  4. Your business must be contactless. Your customers can pay online, over the phone or in a contactless way. Delivery or pick-up must also be contactless.
  5. Basic hygiene measures must be maintained. Physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces. Workers must stay home if they are sick.
  6. If you used PPE in your business before COVID-19, then keep using it in the same way. If you didn't use PPE in your business before COVID-19, you don't need it now. This is advice for retailers, manufacturers and the service industries. Different advice applies to essential healthcare workers, border agencies, courts and tribunal staff, first responders and corrections staff.
    Visit health.govt.nz for more advice
  7. You must meet all other health and safety obligations.

​Update​​ Sunday 19 April 2020

Today we heard from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield who sadly announced another death related to Covid-19 in Invercargill, our thoughts are with the family.

Cabinet meets tomorrow to decide on alert levels and if we will move. Cabinet will consider a large amount of factors before they make the decision. Cabinet will meet at 10.30am and a decision will be announced at 4pm.

Other key points from today can be found below.

• Today there are nine new cases of people with Covid-19. Four of these are confirmed and five are probable cases.

• All of these new cases are linked to confirmed cases.

• This brings the total COVID-19 cases to 1,431.​

Update Saturday 18 April 2020​​​

There was no media briefing today, a written update has been provided by the Ministry of Health.

• Today New Zealand's total number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 13, made up of 8 new confirmed cases and 5 new probable cases.

• The new combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 1422. There are no further deaths to report today.

• There are now 867 reported cases of COVID-19 who have recovered – an increase of 51 on yesterday.

• Today there are 20 people in hospital with COVID-19. The total includes three people in ICU – one each in Middlemore, Dunedin and North Shore hospitals. Two of these ICU patients – in Dunedin and North Shore – are in a critical condition.

• There are still 16 significant clusters – no change from yesterday. Seven more cases have been connected to clusters.

• Yesterday a record number of COVID-19 tests were processed, with the new high being 4,677 tests. The rolling 7-day average is 2,905, and 79,078 total tests have been processed to date.

Find out more on our website: www.covid19.govt.nz​

Update Friday 17 April 2020

​Two more deaths related to Covid-19

In her briefing today Dr Caroline McElnay sadly reported two more deaths linked to COVID-19. A man in his nineties at Waikato Hospital and a woman in her eighties at Burwood Hospital, a resident at Rosewood.

We acknowledge the families of these people who have passed and offer the sympathy and support of all New Zealanders. Our thoughts are also with the professional health care workers who cared for them. We ask that the privacy of these families is respected.

• Today there are 2 new confirmed cases and 6 new probable cases. A total of 8 new cases. 816 cases have recovered – this is an increase of 46 from yesterday. The total number of COVID-19 cases in New Zealand to date is 1,409. There has now been a total of 11 deaths connected to COVID-19 in New Zealand.​

New Zealand remains in Alert Level Four

• Despite the release of information yesterday (16 April) about Alert Level 3, New Zealand remains at Alert Level 4 and we must continue to stay home to break the chain of transmission.

• Cabinet will meet on Monday 20 April to determine whether we will remain at Alert Level 4 beyond next Wednesday.

• Government support for businesses and workers will continue whether we are at Alert Level 4 or 3. The wage subsidy continues to support business and workers. So far $9.9 billion has been paid out, protecting the jobs of 1.6 million workers.​​

Update Thursday 16​ April 2020

More information on Alert Level 3 released​

COVID-19 is a challenge like we have never seen before.

Our goal is to eliminate COVID-19 from New Zealand, so that we can live and work free from this disease. This is the best thing we can do for our people, our communities, and our economy.

We attacked the disease early and hard by going into lockdown or Alert Level 4. This has put us in a good position to eliminate the disease, bank those gains and to get ready to transition to Alert Level 3. When this decision is made, it will be because we have transmission under control and can tolerate a little more risk.

Getting this far has required a collective effort by every New Zealander.  We are all making extraordinary sacrifices to protect the people, communities, businesses and traditions we care about. Thank you.

We will not risk going to Alert Level 3 too early. We will move when we have met four criteria:

  • We know that community transmission is under control, and the transmission rate is very low.
  • We have robust measures at the border stopping new infection.
  • We have tracing and testing capacity to shut down any new outbreak.
  • We have supplies for, and capacity, in the health system.

It is vital that everyone knows we are still under Alert Level 4, and all Alert Level 4 restrictions remain in place.

Under Alert Level Three we will still have significant restrictions on our day-to-day lives. The risk of COVID-19 will have diminished, but not gone away. 

If we are successful in controlling COVID-19 under Alert Level 3 we will be able to move down to Alert Level 2, where there are far fewer restrictions.

You can read more about Alert Level 3 here.​​

Update Wednesday 15 April 2020

Tertiary student support package announced​

The Government has announced a support package to help tertiary education students continue their studies.

The package:

  • includes help to cover extra costs, by increasing the student loan amount available for course-related costs for full-time students from $1,000 to $2,000, on a temporary basis
  • continues support payments for students unable to study online for up to 8 weeks
  • makes technical changes to ensure that:
    • where students receive partial tuition fee refunds in 2020 because their course has been discontinued due to COVID-19, this will not affect their future entitlement to student loans
    • where students are unable to complete a course of study in 2020 due to COVID-19, this will not affect their entitlement to Fees Free tertiary study.​

​​​​​​​You can read more here. https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/covid-19-tertiary-student-support-package

LOOK AFTER YO​​UR MENTAL HEALTH

More online tools to support mental wellbeing​

The Government is making further support available for Kiwis wanting to look after their mental wellbeing as a result of change and uncertainty from COVID-19. 

Three free online tools are now available:

  • the Mentemia app developed by All Blacks legend Sir John Kirwan
  • a health journal app called Melon
  • an e-therapy programme called Staying on Track.

To see more on the tools available click here.​

New support for small to medium-sized businesses​

The Government has announced a set of new relief measures for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new measures include:

  • greater flexibility for taxpayers in respect of statutory tax deadlines
  • changes to the tax loss continuity rules
  • a tax loss carry-back scheme
  • measures to support commercial tenants and landlords
  • further business consultancy support.

The Government has already introduced a wide range of measures to assist businesses through the crisis. This includes the wage subsidy scheme, the Business Finance Guarantee scheme, and a package of business tax changes. While these measures apply to businesses beyond just SMEs, they provide substantial benefits to the SME sector.

To read more about the new support measures click here.

Update Tuesday 14 April 2020

Today Dr Ashley Bloomfield sadly reported four more deaths linked to COVID-19. The deaths were two men in their nineties and one man in his eighties, all Rosewood residents at Burwood Hospital. The fourth death was a man in his seventies in Wellington Hospital.  We acknowledge the families of these people who have passed and offer the sympathy and support of all New Zealanders. Whether husbands, partners, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends or wherever they fit in their wider whānau, we are thinking of them and of you.

More key points from todays briefing​ are below:

​• Today there are 8 new confirmed cases and 9 new probable cases. A total of 17 new cases. 628 cases have recovered – this is an increase of 82 from yesterday. The total number of COVID-19 cases to date is 1,366.

• 15 people are currently in hospital. 3 people in ICU, 1 each in Middlemore, Dunedin, North Shore. The person in Dunedin remains in a critical condition.

• Aged-care facilities are a very vulnerable setting and we have been vigilant from early on to work closely with these facilities.

• The care and preparation in place across the aged-care sector remains strong. Relatively few facilities have been affected. They have been doing great work. We are continuing to work with the sector to provide further support and funding.

• There have been 64,339 total tests to date.

• There are 70 community-based assessment centres around New Zealand, and they have been instructed to have a very low threshold for testing.​

The Ministry of Health and Fletcher Construction agree settlement​

The Ministry of Health and Fletcher Construction are pleased to have reached a settlement on the Te Nikau Grey Hospital build project.​

​Click here to read the media release from The Ministry of Health.​

Treasury releases new economic modelling report

Treasury has released a new report describing a number of scenarios showing the potential impact of COVID-19 on the New Zealand economy. The scenarios consider paths that the economy may take depending on the time spent at different COVID-19 Alert Levels and also consider the impact of additional fiscal support.​​

You can Read the economic scenarios report on the Treasury website

Update Monday 13 April 2020

5th Covid-19 death announced

​Unfortunately the 5th Covid-19 related death has been announced today by Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on day 19 of COVID-19 Alert Level 4. A man in his 80s, this man was part of the Rosewood Resthome cluster. Our thoughts are with his family.

  • There are 19 new cases. This includes 15 new cases and four new probable cases.​​
  • Dr Bloomfield said we need to be prepared for future serious illness and deaths.
  • 546 people have now recovered from COVID-19. This is 75 more than yesterday.
  • The total cases is now 1,349.
  • Yesterday there were 1,660 tests completed. This brings the total of tests to 62,829. A drop in numbers of tests was expected because of the Easter holiday.
  • The Prime Minister reminded people that one case can become many, if people come together for a social occasions.
  • Our number of cases maybe small - but we must keep going. We are not in a position to move out of Alert Level 4 yet.​
  • On 20 April a decision will be made about if we move out of Level Four. Level Three will also have significant rules and we should consider Level Three a waiting room.

Reaching out - Need to talk?


We would like to remind you that reaching out to loved ones is important. If you don't feel like you can speak to those close to you but need support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing at these uncertain times support is available for you , you can call or text the 'Need to talk?' service on 1737. This service is free, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and gives you the chance to talk it through with a trained counsellor. ​​

Update Saturday 11 April 2020

​Two Further D​​​​​​eaths

Media release from The Ministry of Health

​11 April 2020

The Ministry of Health is saddened to report two further deaths linked to COVID-19.

The families of both people will be in the country's thoughts at this very difficult time and we extend our sympathy to them.  All families need time to grieve, and we ask that their privacy continues to be respected.

New Zealand now has four deaths associated with COVID-19.  As we have said previously, this can be a very serious disease – particularly for elderly people, and also for those with underlying health conditions.

Both deaths being reported today have occurred in older individuals with underlying health conditions. Both can also be linked to existing COVID-19 clusters.

The first individual is a man in his 80s who died at Wellington Public Hospital yesterday. 

This gentleman had a link to an established cluster. To allow his family more time to grieve, we will not be identifying that cluster today.  

The man first became unwell on 26 March, was admitted to Wellington Hospital on 28 March and has been under care there ever since.

We are confident his close contacts have been traced and that there is no additional risk posed by this very sad death.  

The second individual is a man in his 70s who died at Burwood Hospital in Christchurch yesterday. 

As with the death we reported on yesterday, this gentleman was one of a group of 20 residents transferred from Rosewood Rest Home & Hospital to Burwood as part of the Canterbury District Health Board's cluster management process.

These residents were relocated to a ward at Burwood to allow them to be managed in one location but in isolation from each other.

This gentleman was tested on 9 April and subsequently returned a positive result for COVID-19. 

Due to the underlying vulnerabilities of this group, we can not rule out further serious illness or deaths within it. 

We acknowledge the anxiety New Zealanders may be feeling about today's news, both in the wider community and also for family and whanau grieving over these sad deaths.

Because of the current Alert Level 4, we also know it can be difficult for families to feel they are part of their loved ones' final hours. 

On behalf of all New Zealanders, the Ministry wants to sincerely thank frontline health staff who are also providing patients with comfort and support during these times.

Again, today's 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.

We want you to know that our health system will continue to do everything it can to support the fight against COVID-19.​​

​Update Thursday 9 April 2020

Distance-learning education package for students

Preparations are well underway to support schools and students with distance-learning when term 2 begins on 15 April.

Every learner in New Zealand will have at least one way to access education, even if they do not have a device or an internet connection at home.

While New Zealand's Alert Level 4 lockdown is due to end on 22 April, the Ministry of Education is planning for every scenario.

The education package includes:

  • Increasing the number of students who have internet access and devices.
  • Hard-copy packs of learning materials for different year levels.
  • 2 television channels that will broadcast education-related content for at least a month – for English and te reo Māori audiences, as well as tailored content for Pacific and other communities.
  • More online resources for parents on the Learning from home and Ki te Ao Mārama websites, and ways to connect with learning support remotely.
To learn more about the education package please click here.​

Planning for the future of tourism​

The Government and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world.

The tourism industry will play an important role in New Zealand's economic recovery.

Tourism New Zealand will lead the work and will collaborate with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Department of Conservation and industry stakeholders. The work will look at how New Zealand governs tourism, how it markets domestically and internationally, who it markets to and how it manages visitors when they arrive in the country.​

To read more on the planning for the future of tourism please click here.

Update ​​Wednesday 8​ ​April ​2020

Ea​ster

Easter is almost here. This year Easter will be a bit different for us - we all need to stay in our household; stay home and stay local. You can still celebrate Easter with your loved ones, Church, or community using video chat, email, texting or calling.

Supermarkets will be closed as usual on Good Friday (10 April) but will be open on Easter Sunday (12 April). There is no need to panic buy. The closure on Good Friday will give staff an opportunity to have a well-deserved rest and give supermarkets the chance to restock their shelves. 

With our total confirmed cases on the West Coast currently sitting at 4 we want to ensure we do everything we can to stop the spread of Covid-19.​ Local Police will now be patrolling the entrances into the West Coast regions. Police are more than confident they have the resources to stop vehicles who are coming into the Coast and will be turning them around if their travel is deemed non-essential.

If you are travelling for essential work or purposes please ensure you have proof of this, this can be proof of your identity along with proof from your employer stating the essential trip you are taking that day or an exemption to travel from Civil Defence.

Mental health campaign launched

The Getting Through Together campaign shares ways that New Zealanders can cope with the stress of COVID-19.

Getting through together has tips and advice on how to get through and stay connected, and to support everyone's wellbeing.​ You can see more on the campaign here.​

​Update ​​Tuesday 7 ​April ​2020

Subscribe to daily updates

The government's ​​Unite against COVID-19 team are now sending a daily COVID-19 email update for the public. You can subscribe by clicking on this link here​

​Ea​s​ter

Easter is almost here. This year Easter will be a bit different for us - we all need to stay in our household; stay home and stay local. You can still celebrate Easter with your loved ones, Church, or community using video chat, email, texting or calling.

Supermarkets will be closed as usual on Good Friday (10 April) but will be open on Easter Sunday (12 April). There is no need to panic buy. The closure on Good Friday will give staff an opportunity to have a well-deserved rest and give supermarkets the chance to restock their shelves. 

​Wellbei​ng

It’s important to remember during uncertain times that it’s alright not to be ok all the time; in fact that’s completely normal. Everyone will be coping and reacting in different ways and there are things we can do to improve our mental wellbeing. ​​​Be kind to yourself and to others. See the All Right? website for more information.

For the ​kids

Note: The following link/s have been discovered via Facebook or the internet and are being passed on as ideas which may be of interest. They have not been checked out by our staff.

The NZ Police posted this message on their Facebook page: "Thanks to all the families staying safe at home - we're all in this together, and we have an extra resource we'd like to share with you to help entertain and educate the kids: https://bryanandbobby.co.nz/​

Update ​​Monday 6 ​April ​2020

Shopping safely 

Here's some tips for shopping safely:
  • Send one person from your household to do the shop
  • Have a list so you can shop fast
  • Keep 2 metres away from others
  • Use contactless payment, not cash
  • ​Wash your hands when you get home
  • Be kind

Be nice about noise

Be courteous to your neighbours when it comes to noise and noisy activities. We are all confined to our houses for a while so now is the time to be considerate and respectful. Keep the music to a reasonable level and remember to use power tools and lawn mowers respectfully during daylight hours.

COVID-19 financial sup​port​​

If you've been affected by COVID-19, financial support may be available. You may be self-isolating at home or your work may be affected. 

SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYERS

There are two payments available to support employers affected by COVID-19: a Wage Subsidy and the Essential Workers Leave Support.

  • The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy is to support businesses impacted by COVID-19 and face laying off staff or reducing hours.
  • The COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support is available for essential businesses to pay their employees who:
    • can't come into work because Ministry of Health guidelines recommend they stay at home; and
    • can't work from home.​

https://workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/covid-19-support.html

SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUALS

If you need assistance but are not sure if you can get assistance and are struggling to support yourself or your family or even if you would just like more information, please contact WINZ. Even if you don’t think you qualify, call them on 0800 559 009 (Monday to Friday 7am–6pm, Saturday to Sunday 8am – 1pm) to check your eligibility. There may be other options available and they might be able to point you in the right direction.

https://workandincome.govt.nz/eligibility/emergencies/2020/coronavirus.html#null

​​​Looking for somet​hing to do?

Note: The following links have been discovered via Facebook or the internet and are being passed on as ideas which may be of interest. They have not been checked out by our staff.

SPARK SESSIONS

Spark Sessions are here and the goodness is already rolling in. Mitch James performed live on Sunday night. Follow their Facebook page for details: https://www.facebook.com/spark4nz/​ 

ACTIVITIES FOR THE KIDS

Not sure how to explain Coronavirus to your kids? Check out the Nanogirl Coronavirus soap experiment​​. Watch the simple explanation for children and help your children to understand their role in reducing the spread. You can also do an easy experiment at home to teach your children the science behind why washing hands with soap and water is so important. https://www.nanogirllive.co.nz/coronavirus-soap-experiment

The Greymouth Star launched a new children's puzzle corner in their newspaper today - let the kids have a go at mazes, crosswords, word builder and snakes and ladders.

​​​Media r​​​el​​​​​​eas​​e​​​s

There are still only ​four confirmed cases on the West Coast.​ Our region has the second lowest number of  confirmed cases in NZ and we should continue to stay home to break the chain. ​​

​Ministry of Health m​edia update, 6 April 2020: https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/67-new-cases-covid-19 ​​​​

Update ​​Sunday 5 ​April ​2020

​COVID-19 WhatsApp 

Get the latest updates on COVID-19 with the WhatsApp channel which is now live. It's free to use and once you have signed up to the channel, you will have access to up-to-date information including:

  • Latest news and updates
  • Latest case information
  • COVID-19 symptoms
  • Financial support that is available
  • Travel advice
  • What you need to do to unite against COVID-19

​Additional guidance for Alert Level 4​​ rules

The Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, has issued a Health Notice that provides additional guidance on the rules around the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 to ensure its success and help move the country out of lockdown as soon as possible. The Notice sets out: 

  • Everyone in New Zealand is to be isolated or quarantined at their current place of residence except as permitted for essential personal movement. 
  • Exercise is to be done in an outdoor place that can be readily accessed from home and two-metre physical distancing must be maintained. 
  • Recreation and exercise does not involve swimming, water-based activities (for example, surfing or boating), hunting, tramping, or other activities of a kind that expose participants to danger or may require search and rescue services. 
  • A child can leave the residence of one joint care-giver to visit or stay at the residence of another joint care-giver (and visit or stay at that residence) if there is a shared bubble arrangement. 
  • A person can leave their residence to visit or stay at another residence (and visit or stay at that residence) under a shared bubble arrangement if: 
    • One person lives alone in one, or both, of those residences; or 
    • Everyone in one of those residences is a vulnerable person. 

“Most New Zealanders are doing the right thing. In the first week of being at Alert Level 4 we have seen high rates of compliance,” Dr Bloomfield said. “The best way to ensure the success of the lockdown is for everyone to play their part. That means staying at home, maintaining physical distancing when outdoors and washing your hands.”​

The full media release is available to read below.

Looking for somet​hing to do?

Note: The following links have been discovered via Facebook or the internet and are being passed on as ideas which may be of interest. They have not been checked out by our staff.

Nikon free online photogra​​​phy classes

​Nikon has made its entire curriculum of online photography classes free until the end of April (normally between $15 to $50 each). Each class is taught by a professional photographer and provides in-depth lessons to help you get better at taking photos. Some courses cover Nikon-specific products, but many of them teach you the fundamentals of photography, such as a course that teaches you how to photograph your children or pets or the basics of making a music video. So even if you don’t own a Nikon camera, many of these classes might still be worth a watch. If you’re interested in streaming the courses, you can do so by going to Nikon’s official website. You will need to sign up by entering your name and email address before you can view the classes, but you can opt out of receiving marketing emails.​​ https://www.nikonevents.com/us/live/nikon-school-online/

Food in a minute - lockdown cooking

Whether you are looking for healthy meals, slow cooker recipes or meals using pantry staple ingredients, you’ve come to the right place - we’ve got lots of great inspiration and tips to help you through this time. https://www.foodinaminute.co.nz/News-Products/Lockdown-Cooking

​​​Media r​​​el​​​​​​eas​​e​​​s

There are four confirmed cases on the West Coast.​ Our region has the second lowest number of  confirmed cases in NZ and we should continue to stay home to break the chain. ​​

​Ministry of Health m​edia update, 5 April 2020: https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/89-more-cases-covid-19​ ​

Additional guidance on Alert Level 4 rules​: ​https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/additional-guidance-alert-level-4-rules

Update ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Saturday 4 April ​2020

Coast essential services contact details 

There was a very handy guide printed in the Grey Star on Saturday 4 April 2020 of contact details and opening hours for essential services, including banks, supermarkets over Easter and appliances/electrical goods. See here to view it. ​

​Healt​hline - phone 0800 611 116

Healthline continues to be a popular service for people concerned about their health. It's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and they have done a considerable amount of work to increase capacity of their services which has reduced wait times – now on average 5 minutes. 

​Of concern is that both Healthline and many primary care providers are reporting that 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. There is capacity to provide appropriate health care so people with health issues should act sooner rather than later. Continue to contact your GP or ring Healthline.​

Looking ​​​after​ yourself

This gorgeous weather is forecast to stick around for another couple of days before taking a turn for the wet. Make the most of the fine weather and get some local exercise in, which will make you feel less guilty about curling up on the couch with books, movies and Netflix next week.

​​​Media r​​​el​​​eas​​e​​​s

There are four confirmed cases on the West Coast.​ Our region has the second lowest number of  confirmed cases in NZ and we should continue to stay home to break the chain. ​​

​Ministry of Health m​edia update, 4 April 2020: https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/82-new-cases-covid-19​ ​​

Update Friday 3 April​ ​2020

​Supermarkets closed Good Friday but open Easter Sunday 

Supermarkets will be able to stay open on Easter Sunday but not Good Friday, the Government has confirmed, so that essential workers can get a break. ​

Fishing and hu​nting during the Level 4 Lockdown – The Roar

The Government’s clear intention is that fishing and hunting are prohibited during the Alert Level 4 lockdown period. Therefore, all hunters and fishermen are asked to do the right thing and stay at home while New Zealand is at COVID-19 Alert Level 4.

With “The Roar” season approaching, people are reminded that heading out to hunt will be a breach of the level 4 lockdown restrictions. Being caught hunting during this time could result in prosecution and/or the loss of your firearms licence.​​​

Don't flush wet wipes dow​​n the toilet

People are asked to make sure they don't flush wet wipes down the toilet during the COVID-19 lockdown (or any time).

As people have "rightly" become more vigilant about hygiene, the use of wet wipes has increased "markedly", Civil Defence emergency management director Sarah Stuart-Black says. "They are a major problem for [the] council's wastewater and treatment plants, and sewerage systems," she told reporters on Tuesday.

Disposing of wet wipes down toilets leads to extra blockages so when y​​ou've finished with them, please place them in the rubbish.​

​​​Media r​​​el​​​eas​​es

Ministry of Health media update, 3 April 2020: https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/71-new-cases-covid-19

​Update T​hursday 2 April ​2020

Closed - dog parks and access roads to tipheads 

Please note that the Council dog parks in Cobden and Preston Road are closed to the public. The access roads to the Cobden and Blaketown tipheads are also closed to vehicles.

This is due to the current government rules under COVID-19 Alert Level 4 that everyone must stay home except for trips for essential purposes only. People are allowed to exercise locally, however there is risk of people coming into close contact with each other at the dog parks, as well as touching surfaces such as the gates, locks etc which may be contaminated. We have closed our playgrounds due to similar risk. We have also had multiple reports of numerous vehicles going out to the tipheads. Police have repeatedly requested people drive for essential trips only.

Our contractors and staff will be putting up signs and barriers shortly. We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation during this time.​

Don't flush wet wipes dow​​n the toilet

People are asked to make sure they don't flush wet wipes down the toilet during the COVID-19 lockdown (or any time).

As people have "rightly" become more vigilant about hygiene, the use of wet wipes has increased "markedly", Civil Defence emergency management director Sarah Stuart-Black says. "They are a major problem for [the] council's wastewater and treatment plants, and sewerage systems," she told reporters on Tuesday.

Disposing of wet wipes down toilets leads to extra blockages so when y​​ou've finished with them, please place them in the rubbish.​

Emergency denta​​​l work

Anyone (child or adult) with an urgent dental problem on the West Coast (or Canterbury) should phone 0800 846-983 or email commdental@cdhb.health.nz - this is the Community Dental contact centre.

A dentist or dental therapist will make contact and determine what treatment is needed and make the appropriate arrangements. Please note: There are significant restrictions on the types of dental treatment that are able to be provided while the Covid-19 virus poses a threat.​

​​​Media r​​​el​​​eas​​es

Ministry of Health media update, 2 April 2020: ​​https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/89-new-cases-covid-19​​

​​​​Updat​​e Wednesday 1 April ​2020

* UPDATED * Household goods a​nd serv​​​ices assistance number

Civil Defence West Coast are now providing a hotline for people with urgent household goods and service’s needs. If someone has an urgent need for food or essential supplies, then they can call 03 900 9329. This number is operational 7 days a week between 7.00am to 7.00pm. This number also covers the whole of the West Coast. People will then be directed to the appropriate service to provide assistance. 

The support service is for people who do not have any other means of getting goods or services, for example through friends, family or neighbours that can provide assistance. Remember, if people are able to help those in need, then please make sure you maintain two metres physical distance, wash your hands, and do not offer assistance if you are unwell.  

People are allowed to go to the supermarket on their own and it is okay to do this for someone else as you can drop the supplies at a doorstep or letterbox, eg for an older person who can’t go out.  

​If people have an urgent need for accommodation, then they can call MBIE Temporary Accommodation Service on 0508 754 163. If financial assistance is required to use that accommodation, then New Zealanders can call MSD on 0800 559 009. Visitors are recommended to contact their local embassy or consulate.  

Other important phone numbers include: 

  • Call the free government helpline  0800 779 997 or on 0800 22 66 57 (8am – 1am, 7 days a week). 
  • Call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor 
  • Call Healthline 0800 358 5453 
  • Call your local GP 
  • Or call 111 in an emergency 

If you want more information about the COVID-19 response, then go to  Covid19.govt.nz

If you have concerns for other people struggling to follow the requirements of self-isolation, please email nhccselfisolations@health.govt.nz

Concerns about people breaching A​​lert Level 4 rules

You can now report to Police online:

  • Suspected COVID-19 Alert Level 4 isolation breaches
  • Businesses you suspect are breaching the essential services rule.​

Please use the online form on the Police website.​

Looking after your hea​lth and wellbeing

This can be a stressful and anxious time for many while we are in a totally new situation with NZ being in lockdown to help eliminate COVID-19. We've pulled together some ideas and resources to look after yourself and your family and to make sure we all get through this together; this page will be updated regularly to check back often. Check it out here.​

​​Media r​​​el​eases

Ministry of Health media update, 1 April 2020: ​​https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/61-new-cases-covid-19 

Update to essential services stores, 31 March 2020: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/better-business/120722850/coronavirus-a-breakdown-of-what-shops-are-open-during-lockdown?rm=m

Update Tuesday 31 March ​20​​20

​Household goods a​nd serv​​​ices assistance number

Are you in need of support with any these essential items or services? 

  • Food shops - due to being classes as “high risk” (eg over the age of 70, pre-existing health issues, symptoms of a col​d or disabled) 
  • Ordering food or groceries online 
  • Clothing or bedding for warmth for your home. 
  • Essential cooking or food storage appliances (oven, fridge, freezer)  
  • Prescription medicine 
  • Home heating (wood, coal, gas) 

We can help. Please contact the West Coast Civil Defence team on phone 03 900 9329. This phone number will operate 7 days a week from 7.00am to 7.00pm. ​

​​Media r​​​el​eases

Ministry of Health media update, 31 March 2020: https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/58-new-cases-covid-19 

Covid-19 modelling: https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/covid-19-modelling-provides-clear-warning-consequences-not-acting-swiftly-and-decisively

National state of emergency extended for seven days, 31 March: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/state-national-emergency-extended-1


Page reviewed: 25 May 2020 12:33pm