COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) update - 24 February

News article

24 February 2020

Note: for the most recent information see our main COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) page.


Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Health Research Council of New Zealand Chief Executive Professor Sunny Collings address media on 24th February 2020, to give an update on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

  • Dr Bloomfield told media there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand currently.
  • Dr Bloomfield and Professor Collings outlined the new $3 million fund for research to immediately address the current COVID – 19 outbreak. 
  • Professor Collings told media the purpose of the fund was to improve New Zealand’s responsiveness and readiness for infectious disease.
  • Dr Bloomfield said more than 100 have been tested for COVID-19.
  • Dr Bloomfield said there’s been an increase in cases in Italy, Iran and South Korea. As a result, we’re following this closely and have asked our Technical Advisory Group for advice, in the first instance, whether the case definition should be expanded.
  • He talked about the New Zealanders repatriated from the Westerdam cruise ship and said they no longer need to self-isolate, as significant testing of passengers has not identified any further cases beyond the one initial passenger. 
  • All six passengers repatriated from the Diamond Princess in Japan are in good spirits at Whangaparâoa Reception Centre 
  • Late on Friday, one member of the six New Zealanders repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship was admitted to North Shore hospital because of an unrelated health condition. They spent the weekend in hospital in isolation and a precautionary test for COVID-19 was negative. They’ve now been released from hospital and returned to the reception centre in Whangaparāoa.

Transcript (Word, 21 KB)