Almost 9000 New Zealanders or households have been self-isolating since the outbreak of the coronavirus - and health bosses say now is the time to be extra vigilant.

Once again, there have been no new confirmed cases of coronavirus today - and one of the two probable cases has been discharged from North Shore Hospital.

More than 50 North Shore staff were sent home to self-isolate after being exposed to the woman, in her 70s, who was in hospital for an unrelated condition.

She has now been sent home from hospital but remains a probable case, the Ministry of Health said in a statement this afternoon. Health authorities were in contact with her every day and are liaising with her family.


The woman had been on the Grand Princess cruise ship from February 11-21. A second passenger from the ship had tested negative for Covid-19 but remained in self-isolation as a precaution.

Meanwhile some staff from North Shore Hospital who had self-isolated would return to work from tomorrow, the ministry said. The remainder would all be back at work by March 16, assuming they remained well.

There had been no impact on clinical care from these stand-downs, and North Shore Hospital continued to provide all services as usual.

Coronavirus: Italy extends travel restrictions to entire country, affecting 60 million people
Inside Europe's coronavirus 'ghost' flights
Coronavirus: Low stock at pharmacies due to high demand
Coronavirus: Z Energy and Caltex cut petrol prices after oil markets sink

Almost 9000 people or households had registered with Healthline to self-isolate, according to the ministry's statement.

Currently 2334 people or households were registered for self-isolation while another 5929 had finished their self-isolation.

While there were still five confirmed cases and two probable cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, 47 cases were classified as "under investigation". Another 281 cases had tested negative for the virus.

Focus Live: With Vodafone NZ planning to empty it’s office this week the Ministry of Health commends businesses that are doing the same.

The first confirmed case of Covid-19 in New Zealand was a person in their 60s who had just returned from Iran.


The New Zealand citizen was diagnosed with the virus on February 28 and is being treated at Auckland City Hospital. The Ministry of Health said planning continued for their discharge while none of the other four confirmed cases required hospital-level care.

A number of other New Zealanders are on cruise ships which are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. They include four on the Grand Princess and one on the quarantined Asara which is on a Nile River cruise. The ministry said there were no known health concerns for these people.

The New Zealand Embassy had also made enquiries about the MSC Opera and found rumours it had been quarantined were unfounded.

Director General of Health Ashley said protecting the health of New Zealanders was the number one priority.

"It's good the key public health measures of strict border controls, self-isolation for people who have come from overseas hotspots or been in contact with local cases have had the desired impact so far," Bloomfield said.

"Now is the time to be even more vigilant. Everyone can help by ensuring good health etiquette – washing hands for twenty seconds, sneezing into your arm and not touching your face. Fundamental to this is not putting yourself or others at risk if you are unwell - not going to work or being out in public if you are sick.

"All of us have a role to play in stopping further spread."

On Monday, Bloomfield said new laboratories in Auckland meant the number of tests able to be carried out each day would jump from 60 to 750.

Combined with other laboratories around the country, health officials could now process more than 1000 tests a day if required.

Bloomfield also confirmed that the Government was looking into "drive-through" clinics allowing members of the public to be tested without getting out of their vehicle.

The number of confirmed cases around the world has reached almost 110,000 with 3800 reported deaths.

Some countries have been hit far worse than others.

For example, the death toll in Italy jumped from 130 to 366 within 24 hours.

The Italian Government has imposed a quarantine in Lombardy and other severely affected areas, impacting some 16 million people.

Coronavirus in NZ by the numbers

• 5 confirmed cases

• 2 probable cases

• 281 negative test results

• 47 cases classified as under investigation

• 8963 people or households have self-isolated since the outbreak began

• 2334 people or households currently in self-isolation