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Coronavirus cases in New Zealand rise by 78 on first day of nationwide lockdown

The number of coronavirus cases in New Zealand has risen by 78 as the country faces its first day in lockdown.

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The 73 confirmed and five new probable cases brings the nation’s total Covid-19 cases to 283. Source: 1 NEWS

There are 73 new confirmed cases and five new probable cases. 

It brings the country's total number of cases, both confirmed and probable, to 283.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, fronted media today with the update alongside Police Commissioner Mike Bush. 

Dr Bloomfield said health officials are following up all close contacts of each new case.

Seven people are currently in hospital and all are stable. Three are in Wellington, two are in Nelson, and one each in Waikato and Northland. Dr Bloomfield said none are in intensive care.

He said twenty seven people have now recovered from Covid-19.

There were 2417 tests processed around the country yesterday, with 12,683 tests in total to date.

He said the majority of new cases still have a link to overseas travel. At the moment, he said, they are investigating several possible clusters.

Those clusters include people connected to the Marist college group, the World Hereford Conference, a wedding in Wellington, a group of people who took a trip to the US, and a group who came into contact with someone who was on the Ruby Princess in the Hawke's Bay.

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The Police Commissioner said anyone who arrives with symptoms will be quarantined. Source: 1 NEWS

Yesterday the number of cases went up by 50, including 47 confirmed and three probable. A nationwide state of emergency was also declared.  

Dr Bloomfield has urged New Zealanders to continue to do their bit. 

He yesterday said Kiwis could expect to see a rise in cases over the next 10 days, from people infected before the lockdown period. This message was reiterated again today.

For Kiwis still making their way back through New Zealand's international airports during the lockdown, Commissioner Bush said processes had been set up to manage people in the new virus environment.

He said anyone who arrives into the country as of the early hours of this morning has been greeted by customs officials, immigration officials, police and then triaged. There were 360 people that arrived at Auckland Airport this morning. 

“The process works like this: If you have any symptoms you will be then taken by health people to a place of quarantine. We have a number of hotel locations approximate to Auckland Airport. You will be taken there. Everyone that lands here will also be taken to nearby locations and triaged there," said Mr Bush. 

He said if those arriving at the airport have a plan and a place to go, police will help them get there.

"We’ve had 360 people through Auckland Airport this morning. That process has been managed well.

"We’ll do everything we can to be compassionate and caring to all of those people, but again making sure that we all comply to that process."