There are eight new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says.

The total number of cases is now 28. The new cases today all relate to overseas travel.

There is still no evidence of community transmission in New Zealand, Bloomfield says.

The Ministry of Health is working to identify any close contacts.

Advertisement

Two of the cases are in Southland, two in Taranaki, one in Rotorua, one in Northland and two in Auckland.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has today confirmed a further 8 new cases of coronavirus.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has today confirmed a further 8 new cases of coronavirus.

None of the new eight cases are school students.

"We are obviously alert to all the new cases and identifying any close contacts," Bloomfield said.

The Ministry of Health is contacting up to 1000 close contacts of the 28 confirmed cases.

Healthline will be provided with the details for the people considered close contacts from being on the flights with the new eight cases.

Bloomfield said he hasn't heard any official word on a full national lockdown, like in Italy.

"We are planning for a long-term effort here," Bloomfield said.

READ MORE:
Coronavirus in NZ: Tourists to be deported after failing to self-isolate upon arrival
Coronavirus: 20 cases in New Zealand, parent of Southland Boys' High School and Southland Girls' High School students tests positive
Coronavirus: Travel details of latest confirmed cases revealed
Coronavirus: Auckland woman Maree Glading disappointed in checks at international arrivals

Advertisement

Bloomfield said he didn't have a timeframe for when New Zealand will experience community spread.

"We are watching very closely as to whether we have any community spread. We also want to act before we see any evidence of widespread community outbreak.

"We've seen a big increase in the number of tests being done, only a few of those cases are testing positive, but it does give us a good idea of whether there's wider community transmission. We're testing people with wider influenza symptoms and it's not at this point been Covid-19.

"There's a lot of work going on to confirm our labs have everything they need to conduct the tests, get the results out quickly, identify the positive results and contact trace."

Bloomfield said some of the earlier cases will have now recovered but they all needed to stay self-isolated for 14 days once they have recovered.

Some elective surgery is being postponed so staff can be upskilled on how to care for people who are ventilated.

Get used to keeping your distance

Bloomfield emphasised we need to get used to maintaining physical distance, particularly when visiting older people in the community.

Government agencies are working with businesses to create more distance between employees.

The recommended social distancing is 1.5m and the distance for contact tracing is 2m.

Bloomfield said people need to be taking care of their mental wellbeing. There was information on the Ministry of Health website.

The eight new cases today follow another eight being confirmed yesterday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is continuing to urge concerned Kiwis not to panic, saying they should instead prepare for what lies ahead.

"This is not a time for panic," Ardern said yesterday. "It is a time for preparation."

Ardern urged anyone who had arrived back in the country in the past fortnight to go into self-isolation, even if they arrived before the requirement for self-isolation.

Bloomfield told Newstalk ZB earlier today that there's been a big increase in testing over the past two to three days.

Bloomfield said 500 or 600 tests are now being done each day.

He said the positive tests have only been from those who've returned from overseas.

The increase in cases parallels a ramping up of testing from about 600 in the past six weeks.

And testing of seemingly well people who have had close contact with confirmed Covid-19 patients has begun for the first time.