Weekend Covid-19 testing in Northland will start from this weekend as the region's case tally increased by one yesterday.

Northland's seven community-based assessment centres originally only operated from Monday to Friday. However, as New Zealand's testing efforts have increased, almost all of Northland's centres would now be open on weekends and public holidays from 10am-2pm.

Head to the bottom of the story for more information on the centres.

Whangārei's testing centre (seen here) had a slow but steady stream of activity at one point yesterday. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Whangārei's testing centre (seen here) had a slow but steady stream of activity at one point yesterday. Photo / Michael Cunningham

It comes as Northland's positive Covid-19 case tally increased to 18. The region's latest case is a woman in her 40s with no link to overseas travel. She was one of 32 new confirmed positive cases announced by Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield at Parliament yesterday.

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Northland positive case summary:
Case 1 (RECOVERED): Male, 20s. Departed Paris on flight EY38 to Abu Dhabi on March 14, then to Sydney on flight EY450 and then to Auckland on VA0141, arriving on March 16.
Case 2 (RECOVERED): Female, 40s. Departed Melbourne on flight JQ217 to Auckland on March 15.
Case 3: Female, 50s. Departed UK on flight EK38 to Dubai on March 19. Departed Dubai on flight EK448 for Auckland on March 21 (Previously in hospital, now discharged).
Case 4 (RECOVERED): Male, 60s. Departed Los Angeles on flight NZ1 on March 23 and arrived in Auckland on March 24.
Case 5 (RECOVERED): Female, 20s. Departed Dubai on flight EK448 on March 19.
Case 6 (RECOVERED): Female, 20s. Departed Dubai on flight EK448 and arrived in New Zealand on March 24.
Case 7: Female, 60s (probable). Travelled from the United States out of LAX on March 18 and arrived in New Zealand on March 19.
Case 8: Female, 40s.
Case 9: Female, 20s. Departed Canada on flight GB615 on March 23 and arrived in New Zealand on the same date.
Case 10: Male, 50s. Departed United States and arrived in New Zealand on March 22.
Case 11: Female, 30s. No international travel.
Case 12: Female, 40s. No international travel.
Case 13: Male, 50s.
Case 14: Male, 60s.
Case 15: Male, 10-14. No international travel
Case 16: Male, 30s. No international travel.
Case 17: Female, 60s. No international travel.
Case 18: Female, 40s. No international travel.

Five of Northland's 18 cases had recovered. On Friday, the Northland District Health Board confirmed there were 12 cases being investigated at three Northland hospitals. Yesterday, the NDHB said some of those cases had come back negative but couldn't specify how many.

In addition to the 22 new probable national cases, Bloomfield said there were 54 new cases with a total of 1160 nationwide. Twelve people were in hospital with four in intensive care.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Photo / File
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Photo / File

Of the cases, 42 per cent linked to overseas travel, 41 per cent were contacts of known cases and two per cent were community transmission. The remaining cases were currently being investigated and 241 cases had recovered.

Concerning case ethnicity, 73.3 per cent were European, 8.5 per cent were Asian, 7.8 per cent were Māori and 3.4 were Pacific peoples.

Bloomfield said the World Health Organisation had updated its advice on face masks and had confirmed it would not recommend wearing medical masks in the public unless someone was in regular contact with a sick person.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Bloomfield also confirmed there had been 291 breaches of the health act (which outlined what was allowed during lockdown), 16 people had been prosecuted and 263 warnings had been issued.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who released statements early yesterday regarding Health Minister David Clark, doubled down in her condemnation of his actions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was strong in her condemnation of Health Minister David Clark. Photo / File
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was strong in her condemnation of Health Minister David Clark. Photo / File

Clark admitted to a 40km round trip to the beach with his family during the first week of the lockdown – something that was specifically advised against by the Ministry he leads.

This comes after he was forced to admit a 2.3km drive to a mountain bike trail last week.

Ardern confirmed Clark had offered her his resignation and said in normal circumstances, she would, "sack the Minister of Health".

However, Ardern said New Zealand couldn't afford disruption to its health sector and would be keeping Clark on for that reason alone. Clark had been stripped of his Associate Finance minister role and was demoted to the bottom of the cabinet ranking.

Ardern would not be drawn on whether she would fire Clark once the Covid-19 pandemic ended.

Asked repeatedly if he would resign as Health Minister after Covid-19, Clark wouldn't say yesterday.

Instead, he told Newstalk ZB that it was up to the Prime Minister whether or not he carries on in the role.

Regarding the wage subsidy, Ardern was pleased to announce it had paid out about $6.6 billion through helping over one million New Zealand workers.