For the first time in nine days there are no new Covid-19 cases in New Zealand today.

And director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said it had been 73 days in this country since the last case of community transmission.

There were 1043 Covid tests conducted on Sunday and to date a total of 429,643 tests had been completed in New Zealand, said Bloomfield, who is back at work after a holiday last week.

Bloomfield said he had a meeting planned in the next fortnight with his counterpart in Australia to share details about the response to the pandemic.


It was important to test the right people, including new arrivals coming across the border and those working with them.

Bloomfield said he had noticed while on holiday that it felt like "life is back to normal in New Zealand".

But he noted the World Health Organisation had revealed overnight the single biggest day of new Covid cases worldwide - more than 230,000 in 24 hours.

"There is a significant pandemic offshore and we still have to be vigilant," he warned.

Bloomfield was away last week when it was revealed that Michelle Boag received sensitive Covid patients' details in her role as Auckland Regional Helicopter Trust acting chief executive. She gave the details to National MP Hamish Walker.

Bloomfield said a process for that trust, and other trusts, was established months ago in case they had to visit a premises where there was a Covid-infected patient and they could take measures to protect themselves.

The helicopter trust was one of many emergency services that was given the information.

Whether it should continue receiving the information was something that was now the subject of Michael Heron QC's inquiry, Bloomfield said.


Minister visits isolation hotel

Health Minister Chris Hipkins and Bloomfield today visited the Grand Mercure hotel isolation facility in Wellington and Hipkins said he was "very impressed" with the staff.

He wanted to reinforce the Government's commitment to "do the right thing" by those who were in managed isolation.

Those entering managed isolation would now receive a 19-page booklet of what they could expect, including mental health support, physical activity and primary health care.

"It's important to show compassion to those returning," he said.

Hipkins said 672 tests were done in managed isolation yesterday with some 400 in the community. The Health Minister said this was not enough and reiterated his desire to see the numbers lift to 4000 a day.

He reiterated the need for everyone to use a digital diary, which he described as a key tool for the country if there was an outbreak.


Extra security for deportees from Australia

On the Kiwi criminal deportees returning from Australia, Hipkins said the Government was opposed to the way it was being managed during the pandemic.

"While we are opposed to this we are working closely with them to make sure it's well managed," he said.

Hipkins said there would be enhanced security at the Auckland hotel where the 30 deportees would stay throughout their managed isolation.

It was necessary to take extra precautions for these higher-risk deportees to make sure they did not breach isolation.

"I don't have the details of each and everyone of their backgrounds of those in this cohort but I must add we're taking a very precautionary approach."

The details of additional security at the managed isolation facility where the group were staying would not be revealed, Hipkins said.

The deportees would be arriving on a single charter flight to New Zealand, paid for by Australia. However the NZ Government would be paying for their hotel stays in isolation.


Asked whether some of the deportees were thought to include child sex offenders Hipkins said he didn't have details, deferring to other Government ministers.

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There were two new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in border facilities at the weekend - one each on Saturday and Sunday.

One was a woman in her 20s who arrived from London who was isolating at the Sudima Christchurch Airport and is now in quarantine.

The other was a woman in her 20s who arrived from Rome. She was isolating at the Christchurch Commodore Airport Hotel and is now in quarantine.

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There were 25 active Covid-19 cases yesterday, and that remains the case today.


The seven-day rolling average for tests was 2053. Hipkins has previously said he wanted to see daily testing numbers hover around 4000 a day to give New Zealanders confidence there is no community transmission.

Meanwhile the Government is refusing to reveal where Kiwi criminals deported from Australia will be housed for isolation amid concerns the high-security facility will be a "magnet for attention".

A total of 30 New Zealanders will be deported from Australia this week, in a resumption of the controversial practice that had been on hold due to the coronavirus lockdown in both countries.

Hipkins told Newstalk ZB's Mike Yardley this morning that Kiwis being deported from Australia due to their criminal convictions would be housed in their own special, secure facility.

Exactly where that facility is would remain under wraps.

"They'll be staying at a dedicated hotel. It will have extra security attached to it," Hipkins said.


"We're doing this because we have to, not because we want to. This is Australia exporting their problems to New Zealand and we have long disagreed with their policy of deporting these people."

The location is so secret, Hipkins wouldn't confirm if they would be staying in Auckland.
When asked why the Government was being so tight-lipped, Hipkins replied "for a variety of reasons".

"We don't want it to become a magnet for attention.

"Ultimately, these people have done their time. They've been deported from Australia but there are actually no grounds to detain them.

"We couldn't put them in prison for example. That wouldn't be justified."