The first New Zealander has died as a result of Covid-19, it was announced at Parliament today.
The person, a woman in her 70s from the West Coast, was confirmed with Covid-19 on Friday, after it was originally thought her ailments were due to influenza complicated by an underlying health condition, Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.
As a result, 21 medical staff who treated the woman have been put into isolation after it was found staff did not use eye goggles in the early stages of the woman's treatment. None were symptomatic at this stage.
Bloomfield confirmed eye goggles had not been necessary for staff treating the patient for her first diagnosis, but said they were required for staff treating those with Covid-19.
As at 9am today, Bloomfield said there were 63 new cases of Covid-19, 60 confirmed and three probable. These new cases took the country's tally to 514, which included the 56 people who had recovered.
Bloomfield confirmed nine people were in hospital - one in Whangārei, three in Wellington, one in Blenheim, one in Nelson, one in Waikato, one in Taranaki and one in Dunedin. One person was in intensive care on a ventilator.
There is one new probable Northland case, a woman in her 60s. The region's tally is now seven people.
Case 1: 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: 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 (recovering in Whangarei hospital as of 26/3)
Case 4: Male, 60s. Departed Los Angeles on flight NZ1 on March 23 and arrived in Auckland on March 24
Case 5: Female, 20s. Departed Dubai on flight EK448 on March 19
Case 6: Female, 20s. Departed Dubai on flight EK448 and arrived in New Zealand on March 24
Case 7: Female, 60s (probable).
Bloomfield said over the last seven days, there had been an average of 1786 tests conducted per day. He assured the public that New Zealand had sufficient hospital capacity to manage the current and projected cases.
Standing alongside Bloomfield, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it would be an "enormously difficult" time for the woman's family and warned more casualties could occur if lockdown measures weren't abided by.
"It is a sad day. It also brings home why we are taking such strong measures to stop the spread of this virus," she said.
"Left unchecked, it runs the risk of taking the lives of many more people."
Ardern emphasised how important it was to protect New Zealand's older people and those with underlying health conditions, as they were most at risk.
"Today's death is a reminder of the fight we have on our hands and it's a reminder of why it's so important that everyone can play their parts through the simplest of tasks."
Ardern said she had seen reports of comments online directed at those with Covid-19 that she considered to be bullying.
Regarding lockdown enforcement, Ardern said she had seen reports of people flouting lockdown rules and said New Zealand could rightly feel "frustrated" with them.
She confirmed there had been over 2000 calls to 111 regarding broken lockdown rules.
Ardern announced police had launched an online form through which people could report such breaches. The form can be found at 105.police.govt.nz.
Regarding the border, Ardern said about 840 people returned to the country yesterday and roughly 300 would arrive today. Ardern said anyone entering the country without a sufficient self-isolation plan would be quarantined.