New Zealand has three new cases of Covid-19 today, including two more nurses who have been infected in hospital.

The total number of confirmed and probable cases in this country is now 1497.

Two of the new cases are nurses at Waitakere Hospital and are linked to the St Margaret's Hospital & Rest Home cluster in Auckland.

Both nurses had been asymptomatic throughout a stand-down period which they spent in precautionary self-isolation at home, the Ministry of Health said.


This means there are now seven cases of nurses from Waitakere Hospital contracting the virus as part of the St Margaret's cluster - six confirmed and one probable. One is in North Shore Hospital.

The nurses were tested as part of routine requirements for their safe return to work but their results came back positive.

The ministry said both nurses are remaining in isolation while they wait for further testing.

"Although further cases in clusters cannot be ruled out, strong precautionary measures remain in place at the hospital and the St Margaret's facility," the ministry said.

Today's third case is someone who had returned from overseas and so is classed as an imported case.

A total of 93 per cent of patients have now recovered.

Today two people remain in hospital – one each in Middlemore and North Shore hospitals. Neither patient is in intensive care.

Almost 3900 tests were processed yesterday - bringing the total number of tests completed to 194,191.


PM to reveal level 2 decision at 4pm today

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield will join the 4pm press conference with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern when she announces Cabinet's decision today on moving to alert level 2.

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The numbers of new Covid-19 cases released today will be one of the last pieces of data that Cabinet will consider in deciding when to move to level 2, as well as advice from the Health Ministry and other agencies.

The extended Cabinet meeting began at 10.30am.

If a shift to level 2 is approved, one of the country's top epidemiology experts says the Government should consider making masks on public transport compulsory.

"This would give us another line of defence," Otago University epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said.


Baker supported a phased approach to level 2.

"Thinking logically, you might begin with the most controlled environments, like workplaces and schools, where risk can be minimised."

Then, once officials are sure level 2 was showing signs of success, the Government could loosen restrictions on places like bars and nightclubs, he said.

He told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking today that complacency and rule-breaking were common right now.

But people need to get back to work and get the economy moving. He just wants to make sure the public is properly on board with the requirements of level 2 - levels 3 and 4 had easier rules to follow

"It needs to be pretty clear to everyone what's involved."


Ardern has previously said New Zealand would only move to level 2 when it was safe and indicated it could be phased in.

"We think of ourselves as halfway down Everest. I think it is clear that no one wants to hike back up that peak," she said last week.

And Bloomfield has always said his advice would be based on a sustained period of low new cases, low to no community transmission and an ironclad understanding of where each case came from.

New Zealand has had a week of consistently low new cases of Covid-19.

There were just 11 new cases in the past seven days. For two days there were no new cases.

Yesterday, there were just two new cases and no further Covid-19 related deaths. The Ministry of Health also revealed that 92 per cent of all coronavirus cases have now recovered.

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