There have been two more coronavirus-related deaths in New Zealand as investigations continue into how a deadly outbreak started at a Christchurch rest home, while Kiwi scientists are contributing to the search for a vaccine. Get all the important news and read the full stories in the links below.
Key developments in NZ
• There have been two more deaths related to Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing the total death toll to four. Both were elderly, had underlying health conditions, and could be linked to existing clusters. One was a man in his 80s who passed away at Wellington Public Hospital yesterday. He first became unwell on March 26 and was admitted to hospital two days later. The man's infection was linked to an existing cluster which Director of Public Health Caroline McElnay wouldn't identify for privacy reasons. The second was a man in his 70s who died in Burwood Hospital, Christchurch, after being among the group transferred from the Rosewood Rest Home. McElnay reported 29 new cases today and said 422 people with Covid-19 in New Zealand have now recovered. The total number of cases is now 1312. Fifteen people are in hospital - five are in intensive care units - and one patient in Dunedin is in a critical condition.
• Investigations into how a deadly coronavirus outbreak started at a Christchurch rest home are ongoing - and the suggestion "overseas exposure" was the origin has been removed from the Ministry of Health website. Health authorities announced yesterday a 90-year-old woman who lived at Rosewood Rest Home and Hospital in Linwood had died in Burwood Hospital, after earlier contracting the virus, while a second death from the facility was confirmed today. The ministry's website listed the cluster's origin as "overseas exposure", but the Canterbury DHB told the Herald that information was incorrect and had been changed to "unknown". The DHB has previously said it was highly likely a staff member brought the virus into the unit, given strict visiting restrictions under the alert level 4 nationwide lockdown.
• Can New Zealanders play a role in finding a vaccine for Covid-19? Professor Rod Dunbar, a leading expert in human cellular immunology, talks to Phil Taylor about work being done in record time to develop a vaccine, what Kiwi scientists are contributing, and the damage done by the anti-science movement.
Listen live to Newstalk ZB's coronavirus coverage
• Dr Ashley Bloomfield has become one of the most trusted voices for New Zealanders throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The Director-General of Health has been a regular presence at 1pm media briefings, offering a steady and sure message for a country in lockdown, drawing on a lifetime's worth of experience, skills and training geared towards the crisis New Zealand is now experiencing. David Fisher answers the question many have been asking – Who is Ashley Bloomfield?
• The once-sunny $3.2 billion screen sector, which provided nearly 30,000 jobs in New Zealand, is suddenly in the grip of its longest winter. Fallout from Covid-19 has suspended big-ticket international productions indefinitely and forced our suddenly-amputated local industry to grapple with filming in an age of social distancing. Matt Nippert goes inside the sector to assess the damage to, and prospects for, an industry that recently was complaining of labour shortages and heralded by the Government as the future of work.
Around the world
• The number of deaths worldwide from the Covid-19 pandemic has now passed 100,000, and the United Kingdom is reeling after its deadliest day. The worst-affected country remains Italy, with 18,849 deaths so far. The United States is now the second worst-affected country, with 17,925 deaths, while Spain is third, with 15,970 deaths. A total of 8958 patients have died in UK hospitals, up by 980 in 24 hours – the biggest rise in daily deaths yet. The UK's deadliest day has exceeded records set by both Italy (919) and Spain (950). And the news is no better in New York where 777 people died yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
• New York City has emerged as the global epicentre of the pandemic. Today, the Empire State has officially overtaken every country and US state to become the Covid-19 capital of the world, with a total of 159,937 confirmed coronavirus cases — a jump of more than 10,000 new cases from the day before. There have been 7067 deaths as a result of the contagion in the state so far, but epidemiologists, city officials and medical personnel say those numbers are likely to be far below the city's actual death toll.
• A briefing by former Prime Minister Sir Bill English has given a remarkably candid warning of the long-term problems New Zealand faces from Covid-19. Hamish Rutherford reports.
• The Warehouse, Kmart, debt collectors, McDonald's, Destiny Church, Fletchers and New Zealand Rugby now all have the wage subsidy scheme in common. With more than $7 billion already paid out, a search of the register shows many of New Zealand's biggest and most well-known businesses haven't been immune to the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown. The Warehouse was paid almost $52 million - the largest found by the Herald - to support more than 8500 workers, according to the Ministry of Social Development's online tool. In order to get the scheme, companies have to show a 30 per cent drop in business between January and June as a result of the pandemic. It's estimated between $8b and $12b will eventually be paid out.
• Chairman Rob Croot has assured fans that the New Zealand Warriors will survive in the NRL, even in the worst case scenario of no further matches in 2020. However, their quest to compete in the NRL's proposed restarted competition next month seems increasingly like an impossible dream, argues Michael Burgess.
Check our graphic for the latest case numbers in New Zealand.