The man chairing Hawke's Bay's Civil Defence response to coronavirus says there's a "huge task in front of us" to get through the pandemic, which now has the region under a state of emergency.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council Deputy Chair Rick Barker, who chairs the Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Joint Committee said the region's leaders supported the Government's declaration on Wednesday, which would ensure local communities got the help they needed.

"Covid-19 is a rapidly evolving situation, and the government is making tough decisions to make sure we can contain the virus by going hard and going early," Barker said.

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"This declaration sends a very strong message to our communities that we need to protect our most vulnerable and at-risk people. We all need to work together to protect each other collectively as a nation.

"As a region we have strong communities and high levels of trust in each community. This strong sense of community and trust will give us a very strong foundation to carry us through these troubled times."

Barker said declaring a state of emergency gave controllers and others the powers to deliver a swift and effective response.

"This declaration means that regionally, Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group will take a lead in coordinating the response across the many agencies involved.

"All these agencies and our capacity need to be closely aligned with our community, led by the numerous community groups we have. Doubtless these community groups will help in every way they are able to."

Hawke's Bay District Health Board would also continue to update the public in relation to any health issues and matters related to health.

Barker emphasised the pandemic and dealing with it was unchartered territory.

"This is new to all of us, but rest assured there's a lot of work going on behind the scenes to get us all through this. None of us have done this before so we will be learning as we go," he said.


"We have a huge task in front of us, the welfare of our communities and businesses. We should not underestimate the size of this, or be daunted by it.

"Supporting our people, delivering services, helping businesses survive and recovering together are all things we are working on as mayors, councillors and chairs."

The Joint Committee comprises the mayor of each council and the Regional Council chair, and sets the Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group's strategic direction.

As of Wednesday, no new cases were announced in Hawke's Bay.

Two pensioners in their 70s from Hawke's Bay, one a female, the other male, were confirmed Covid-19 positive on Tuesday.

Both were on a flight from Barcelona via Dubai to Auckland, which arrived on 18 March, flight EK448, Auckland to Napier on 19 March – flight NZ5021.
Hawke's Bay's first case, a male in his 30s, was confirmed last Friday.

On Wednesday a state of emergency was declared in New Zealand after 50 more coronavirus cases were confirmed.

This takes the country's total number to 205.

Emergency powers were handed to authorities to enforce the nationwide lockdown.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told reporters that six people are in hospital in a stable condition, one in Rotorua, one in Waikato and three in Wellington. Three patients were discharged from hospitals yesterday.

There were 1400 tests processed yesterday, bringing the total number of tests so far to 9780.

He said the cases are being actively being followed up. The majority still had a direct link to overseas travel, or were linked to close contacts of confirmed cases.

"We do have some community transmission in New Zealand."

Four were confirmed and number of other cases were being treated a potentially community transmission. There were four community transmission cases, as well as two clusters of cases with Marist College and a conference in Queenstown.

Bloomfield expected the number of cases to continue rising for the next 10 days, and the numbers would drop if people stayed at home. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website