The first Northlander to test positive for Covid-19 says he is back to feeling ''100 per cent''.

Joshua Dent, 23, is thought to have caught the virus during a trip to London to surprise his best friend on her birthday.

He cut his trip short when the government called Kiwis home and drove straight home to Opua from the airport. The symptoms began as he was driving north.

His father moved out of the family home so he could go into isolation straight away.


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Josh Dent, Northland's first recovered Covid-19 patient, with his father Sam Dent, who lived in his car while his son was in isolation in the family home. Photo / Josh Dent
Josh Dent, Northland's first recovered Covid-19 patient, with his father Sam Dent, who lived in his car while his son was in isolation in the family home. Photo / Josh Dent

Dent was officially declared recovered on March 27, 48 hours after his last symptoms disappeared, but remained in isolation until Wednesday.

''I'm back at 100 per cent. It's great,'' he said.

The last symptoms to disappear were a cough and the occasional headache.

However, Dent could not celebrate his recovery with friends because since his isolation started the entire nation had gone into lockdown.

''But I managed to get myself out on a walk on Wednesday for the first time in 24 days. I've never wanted to go for a walk in my life but it was just the best. We live in such a beautiful area.''

Since his recovery Dent (Ngāti Manu, Ngāti Hine) had passed the time by "keeping up with light admin", staying in touch with family and friends, learning to bake bread, and brushing up on his te reo Māori online.

When Dent's condition worsened early in his illness his father, Sam Dent, moved into his car on the driveway to keep an eye on him from a safe distance.


Sam Dent slept on a mattress in the back of his station wagon, cooked meals for them both on a gas stove in the garage, and showered under a hose.

He waited a few days after his son's official recovery then moved back into the house on March 31. Father and son are now an isolation ''bubble''.

''I'm definitely one of the lucky ones. I got a reasonably mild case in the grand scheme of things, I'm young and I've got no underlying health conditions. I also had great family support.''

Dent's message to other New Zealanders was to stick to the lockdown.

''Don't lose motivation. You're halfway through. Keep pushing for the other half, hopefully it lasts only another two weeks.''

From what he'd seen online it seemed 90 per cent of people were following the rules.


''It's just that 10 per cent. If they don't watch out they'll be the ones spreading it around the country. Everyone wants to get back to normal life as soon as possible.''

Dent said he had huge respect for the way Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield had handled the crisis.

''They're both incredible. We need to realise how lucky we are to have them in charge at the moment. Dr Bloomfield deserves a knighthood after this. He's just so calm. It's just facts, there's no ego in it. All the decisions are very clear and transparent to everyone.''

■ Dent is inviting other Kiwis who have tested positive for Covid-19 to contact him on if they need support or someone to talk to. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website