New Zealand has 82 new Covid-19 cases.
Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield briefed media this afternoon.
There are 52 new confirmed cases and 30 probables, Bloomfield said. That brings the total number of confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand to 950.
Bloomfield said he would provide advice to Cabinet this week as to whether the lockdown should be extended.
Bloomfield there has been a “flattening off” of new cases but he would like to see another two or three days of lower new case numbers to be confident of that.
“It may well be it [Covid-19] has peaked now.
“The number of cases does seem to be levelling off,” Bloomfield said.
“We’ve got good levels of testing happening. That’s providing us with good information. So we’re increasingly confident these lockdown measures are working.”
He said there are 10 significant clusters. In Auckland, around Marist school there are 60 associated cases, in Bluff, around a wedding, 55 cases, and in Matamata 54 cases.
There were 3631 tests done yesterday, for a total of 33,116 tests so far.
At this stage, 127 people have recovered, Bloomfield said.
Some 300,000 new nasal swabs are due to be delivered in the coming week, he said.
About 1 per cent of cases are from community transmission. Bloomfied expects that number to rise.
He said during the past week, there had been a high level of lockdown compliance across the country, but a new notice will be provided to let people know what an acceptable bubble is.
He said there are still some people who are not following the Government’s guidance.
The new public health notice will clarify police powers.
It will provide the public and the police with more clarity, he said.
Asked if he was confident police had enough power, Bloomfield the new guidance was quite clear.
“Yes, I do think police have enough powers.”
Director of Public Health Caroline McElnay said there has been no change to the Government’s recovery condition – when 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms and 48 hours after a person is symptom-free.
She said the Government is watching advice from the World Health Organisation for people being required to wear masks when they are out and about.
This is the requirement in the US – but Bloomfield said the US was in a different position to New Zealand, with much wider community transmission.
“We’re not in that position.”
She said there are areas where wearing a mask is unhelpful – for example, sometimes it leads to people touching their face more, she said.
That is unhelpful, she said.
She said the wait time for Healthline was an average of five minutes. She said the service received 14,700 calls yesterday.
Bloomfield said there “may well” be a drop in testing over the weekend because people are less likely to go out.
He said lab capacity around the country continued to be bolstered.
Bloomfield said he has been approached by Maori academics who asked the Government to provide a more detailed breakdown of ethnicity.
He said the Government has more capacity than it needs around testing for the virus – and added that was deliberate.
Some 17 per cent of cases are still being investigated, he said.
McElnay said having a fever is no longer an essential symptom of having Covid-19.
Bloomfield said “thousands” of elective surgeries have been delayed.
McElnay said she is in daily contact with some of her health counterparts from across the world.
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So far, just one person in New Zealand has died from Covid-19. But the global death toll approaches 60,000 and there are now more than one million confirmed cases around the world.
Yesterday, Bloomfield confirmed there were 71 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.
That was made up of 22 new probable cases and 49 confirmed.
Bloomfield revealed New Zealand had the capacity for up to 5400 tests a day.
He expects the number of tests done each day to continue to increase in the coming days and weeks.
Bloomfield and McElnay’s 1pm media stand-up is the only public briefing by Government officials of ministers today.
Saturday is the only day of the week neither the Prime Minister of Minister of Finance provides a 3pm media stand-up.