An inmate at Hawke's Bay Regional Prison was late on Wednesday reported to be still in isolation while refusing to undergo a test for the coronavirus Covid-19.

Responding to a Hawke's Bay Today query, the Department of Corrections said there were still no confirmed cases of the virus in any New Zealand prison, but an inmate in Hawke's Bay remained in isolation while refusing to undergo a test.

"Staff are continuing to support his health and wellbeing and are doing everything possible to encourage him to undertake testing," a statement said.

Six tests involving inmates at the Hawke's Bay prison and at Auckland's Mt Eden jail had all been returned negative.


"They do not have Covid-19," media staff said.

National Commissioner of Corrections Services Rachel Leota said: "To further prevent any potential for the virus to transmission into a prison, we are managing any newly received prisoners separately from other prisoners for a period of 14 days."

On arrival all newly-received prisoners remain separate from other prisoners, with physical distancing maintained, and are health screened for any indications of Covid-19.

The new prisoners wear protective wear during the process as an added precaution to keep staff and other prisoners safe.

She said that if health screening determined a new arrival had symptoms or potential symptoms of Covid-19, staff would take "immediate steps" to further isolate them as a precaution and notify the Ministry of Health so all appropriate steps can be undertaken both at our sites and in the community.

Leota said that in the lead-up to the ordering of the alert level 4 lockdown, staff were asked to take a deliberately cautious approach to their own wellbeing by staying at home if they were sick, advising of any contact with other people with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 and advising of any recent international travel. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website