On the day that Patient Zero in the Covid-19 pandemic was identified and former royals Harry and Meghan fled from Canada to California by private jet, retired doctors and nurses in New Zealand answered the call to help on the front lines and we learned the Government's wage subsidy scheme could cost $12 billion. Get all the highlights and read the full stories in the links below.

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Key developments in NZ

• Catch up with all the latest news of the day here. At her daily media briefing, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern again pleaded with people to stay home and only drive to get essential food or medical supplies. Finance Minister Grant Robertson revealed the wage subsidy scheme the Government launched to help coronavirus-hit workers could cost as much as $12 billion.

• Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield says New Zealand has 85 new coronavirus cases today and one patient is now on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit. The total of confirmed and probable cases is now 368 and 2500 retired health professionals have returned to the workforce to help.


• So far New Zealand has not seen the looting, which broke out in London, but shocking footage has emerged of a woman allegedly stealing food from a South Auckland supermarket. Just hours before New Zealand's four-week coronavirus lockdown, a woman was seen allegedly stuffing her bag with groceries from Fresh Choice in Ōtāhuhu on Wednesday. In footage obtained by the Herald, staff members were seen confronting the woman before the altercation turned physical.

With over 1000 deaths in the US due to the coronavirus outbreak, 60 percent of Americans still support the way President Trump is handling the situation. Video / TRT World

Around the world

The first person from the Wuhan market, where the coronavirus pandemic is believed to have started, to test positive for the virus was a woman selling live shrimps, according to a document leaked to media. The 57-year-old seafood merchant at Wuhan's Huanan market, whom the Wall Street Journal has identified as Wei Guixian, started to feel sick on December 10. Thinking she was getting a cold, she walked to a small local clinic for treatment and then went back to work – potentially spreading the virus to countless others. "I felt a bit tired, but not as tired as previous years," she told Chinese news outlet the Paper, recalling her initial symptoms.

The race is on to find a vaccine for COVID-19.

• Meanwhile Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have reportedly fled Canada with son Archie on a private jet. The Sun reports that the trio hastily moved permanently to California before borders between Canada and the US were shut by the US President and Canadian Prime Minister. The Sussexes are in lockdown in a new home near Hollywood, in a celebrity neighbourhood close to Bel Air.

What the columnists are saying

• While Australians argue about exactly how long they are allowed to be at the hairdresser, New Zealand has quietly gone into full lockdown. In a leadership comparison between the two countries, Sam Clench argues that Jacinda Ardern has shown one great quality that Scott Morrison has lacked - clarity.

• Matthew Hooton says we can trust Ardern to see us through this crisis - along with her finance minister Grant Robertson and Opposition leader Simon Bridges. But he warns that the chances of emerging from lockdown in a month look slim and our September 19 election is probably on hold.

New Zealand has another 85 new coronavirus cases today and one patient is now being treated in a hospital intensive care unit.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Yes, there is still sports news

• Veteran rugby expert Phil Gifford has three radical ideas to improve rugby once it returns - and he's gone well beyond changing the structure of the season.

• Dylan Cleaver goes even further by suggesting it's time rugby and league got together after more than 100 years of separation. If they don't, he suggests, both sports could be in big trouble within the time it takes to get back to crowds in stadiums.


• Patrick McKendry argues that World Rugby needs to bail out the All Blacks, as that's a lot more palatable and reasonable than expecting our government to pick up most of the tab.

Check our graphic for the latest case numbers in New Zealand and around the world.