No new cases of COVID-19

Media release

05 May 2020

Today we have no new cases of COVID-19 to report.

Additionally, one case that had previously been reported as a probable case of COVID-19 has been reclassified as not a case.

This means New Zealand’s overall total of confirmed and probable cases decreases by one, to 1,486.

New Zealand’s total number of confirmed cases remains at 1,137. This is the number we report to the World Health Organization and in many instances this is the number reported publicly by other countries.

There were 3,232 tests completed yesterday, with a combined total to date of 155,928.

Of our cases, 1,302 are reported as recovered – an increase of 26 on yesterday.

88% of all confirmed and probable cases have now recovered.

There are four people in hospital, none in ICU. There are no additional deaths to report.

We still have 16 significant clusters in New Zealand, with three now closed as previously reported.

One existing cluster – St Margaret’s Hospital and Rest Home – has today had five cases newly linked to it. It is important to note these are not new cases. Following investigations, an existing group of cases have been linked to the St Margaret’s cluster. These are not patients at Waitakere Hospital.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said having zero new cases of COVID-19 to report for the second day in a row was very encouraging, and all New Zealanders should feel proud of what they had achieved together over these past weeks.

‘But we must stick to the plan. The worst thing we could do is celebrate success prematurely and jeopardise the gains we have made.

‘Stay the course and stay in your bubble – don’t squander what we have achieved by giving the virus a chance to spread in our communities that we have worked so hard to protect.’

Exemptions

New Zealand requires everyone entering the country to go into a 14-day managed isolation period or quarantine if they are symptomatic, unless they have an approved exemption.

To date, since 28 March, around 6,000 returned travellers have gone into managed isolation. There are currently 179 people in quarantine facilities, and 2,792 people in managed isolation.

These precautions are to prevent the virus coming into the country, to ensure all New Zealanders are protected.

There is a process for requesting an exemption on compassionate grounds.

The Ministry has to date received 24 requests related to a dying relative that had been declined.

There has been a judicial review of a request, which last Friday resulted in the court intervening and a personal visit organised.

As a result of that judicial review, the Ministry is now reviewing previous similar requests to ensure they followed the correct process and taking into account the Judge’s findings.

That review started today and I have asked for it to be completed as soon as possible this week.

The Ministry’s work to date has been to balance protecting New Zealanders with allowing individuals to safely visit a dying relative or attend their funeral.

The Ministry has taken a very precautionary approach and this review now will ensure that each case was looked at as carefully and compassionately as possible.

International Day of the Midwife

Today is International Day of the Midwife and a great opportunity to celebrate our midwives.

There are about 3,200 of these frontline essential workers are in our hospitals and communities every day, supporting women through their pregnancy, birth and early parenting journeys.

An estimated 6,000 babies have been born since New Zealand went into Alert Level 4 lockdown. And we know that midwives have been indispensable to women and babies more than ever during this time.

World Hand Hygiene Day

Although every day is hand hygiene day at the moment, today is also officially World Hand Hygiene Day. Hand hygiene is crucially important for many reasons – to prevent spread of COVID-19, to prevent spread of other diseases and to help fight the rise of antibiotic resistance.

This year, the campaign theme is ‘Save Lives: Clean your hands’ which is very relevant right now.

One of the best things we can all do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to regularly and frequently wash our hands.


Media contact

Peter Abernethy

021 366 111