TODAY |

Fifty-eight new coronavirus cases in New Zealand

There are 58 new coronavirus cases in New Zealand, bringing the national total to 647.

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Dr Ashley Bloomfield provided the latest figures from the Ministry of Health today. Source: 1 NEWS

The new cases are made up of 48 confirmed cases and 10 probable cases. A probable case is when a test comes back negative but it's being treated as confirmed as the person's symptons fit the criteria of Covid-19.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black gave an update on the numbers and Government's response to Covid-19 today.

"Whilst this is a drop in the number over the last day or two I have no sense that this is a drop overall and our expectation is that the number of cases will continue to increase," Dr Bloomfield said.

"We need to take this virus seriously and part of taking it seriously is now ensuring we get the best possible outcome from the alert level 4 measures we have in place.

"That of course requires, and I can't say it enough, that requires everybody to play their part and observe the self-isolation rules that are in place and to avoid social contact. That is how we will collectively break the chains of transmission."

Dr Bloomfield said there were 14 people being treated for the virus in hospitals throughout the country, with two people in intensive care, both in a stable condition.

However, Dr Bloomfield said today's number of 58 infections, down on yesterday, could reflect a lower number of tests being carried out.

In the past seven days though, the average number of tests carried out is 1777 with more testing capacity coming on board later in the week.

"We want to increase testing because we want to find these cases," Dr Bloomfield said.

He also noted that there is still a strong link between Covid-19 infections and overseas travel, with 53 per cent of confirmed cases linked to overseas travel.

But he said community transmission cases are expected to increase. Currently they only make up one to two per cent of cases.

New Zealand's Covid-19 death toll remains at one.

So far, 74 people have recovered from Covid-19 in New Zealand.

Mr Bloomfield also announced face masks will be supplied to district health boards to disperse amongst essential workers in health sectors like pharmacies and home care.

He said this move was "not to contradict" the Ministry of Health’s protective personal equipment guidelines, which are in line with expert advice, but so frontline workers are "able to access PPE when they need it".