There are 11 new cases of coronavirus in New Zealand and the Ministry of Health is still investigating whether they're all linked to overseas travel.

Of the new cases, five are in Auckland, two in Waikato, one in Hawke's Bay, two in Wellington and one in Canterbury.

None of the new cases were in hospital and they were all at home self-isolating, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.

Five of the cases are still being investigated as to whether the infection is related to overseas travel or community transmission.

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People should also remember that self-isolation did not mean social isolation, as keeping in contact with others was vital for mental wellbeing, Bloomfield said.

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11 new cases - 39 total

All of the newly confirmed cases were in self-isolation at home and none needed hospital treatment, Bloomfield said.

"We continue to see an increasing number of cases and we are expecting more given the rapidly evolving situation overseas and the number of people who have travelled overseas and into New Zealand, including returning Kiwis, in the last week or two."

One of the cases announced yesterday, a man in his 60s, is in Lakes District Hospital in Queenstown and his condition is stable.

Meanwhile, all the 150 close contacts of the Logan Park High School student who tested positive for Covid-19 had negative results and will continue to self-isolate.

Logan Park High has been thoroughly cleaned and is expected to re-open on Tuesday.

The test results confirmed the two Dunedin cases were linked to overseas travel and not community outbreak, Bloomfield said.

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Self-isolate, don't social isolate

Bloomfield said the messaging had changed for best practise hygiene practises - instead of "social distancing", New Zealanders are instead being asked to practise "physical distancing".

Self isolation did not mean social isolation, Bloomfield said.

"It's important for all of our mental wellbeings to stay connected to people, family, friends and colleagues.

"There are lots of ways to do this through reaching out on the phone, social media or through online contact.

"Talking to people and checking in with others not only helps us stay all connected but it's good for our mental wellbeing."

The ban on indoor gatherings over 100 and events with more than 500 people would be disappointing for many, Bloomfield said, but it was vital to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Restaurants and bars could manage this restriction by having shifts of people move through and the Government was working with the hospitality sector to come up with some solutions, he said.

And Bloomfield had a special message for university students over the weekend: make sure you stick to the ban on indoor gatherings over 100.

Bloomfield said some students had arranged to do deliveries or help people in isolation, and encouraged other students to follow suit.

The Ministry of Health has set up a special email address for people in self-isolation to help them get information - nhccselfisolation@health.govt.nz

Recovering from Covid-19

Bloomfield said recovering from Covid-19 was a lot like recovering from a bad cold or flu.

"You should rest, recuperate, keep up your fluids and get lots of sleep."

The Ministry of Health is working to establish the number of people who have fully recovered from the coronavirus.

Director-general of Health Ashley Bloomfield says keep a physical distance from people but don't socially isolate yourself. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Director-general of Health Ashley Bloomfield says keep a physical distance from people but don't socially isolate yourself. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Prepare, don't panic

As well as physical distancing, abiding by the gatherings ban and practising good hygiene, one of the other important things New Zealanders needed to do to avoid the impact of the pandemic was to not panic.

Any empty supermarket shelves was a demand issue, not a supply issue, Foodstuffs managing director Steve Anderson said.

And the fact people were putting such a demand on supermarkets meant some people were having to go without.

If everyone shopped normally, the shelves would stay full, Anderson said. Shoppers would likely see limits imposed on some products.

"If we all purchase as usual, there will be no problems.

"We may all need to take a deep breath or two collectively."

Supermarkets had got in touch with other logistics industries, like logging, which has been brought to its knees after China blocked imports, to see if they could repurpose drivers to handle moving grocery stocks around the country, he said.

Community outbreak

The Ministry of Health is on high alert for a community outbreak.

"Any hint that we have, like a canary in the mine of community spread, would lead us to think about what other measures we need to put in place," Bloomfield said.

"But we want to ask the canary how they're feeling before they even feel unwell."

And this is why testing was so important and vital to the plan, Bloomfield said.

Up to 1500 tests can be conducted a day but laboratories could work longer hours to process more if needed.

No lack of medical supplies

Bloomfield said there was no shortage of testing kits of personal protective equipment and the Ministry of Health was looking at its options to increase the number of ventilators.

This included old ventilators which could still be used and brought back into service.

No district health board had reported lack of supplies to the ministry, he said.

There was also a manufacturer in Whanganui that could produce 200,000 masks a day which could ensure the 70,000 district health board employees could use two masks a day.

That's on top of the 18 million already stocked in the country.