Beleaguered Air New Zealand has reportedly confirmed that some of its staff have tested positive for coronavirus.

The airline, which has been forced to lay off a third of its staff and has drastically cut international flight schedules as a result of the pandemic, said some staff who had travelled to the UK and US had tested positive.

MediaWorks said Air NZ had reported that staff were doing okay and that the airline was also trying to identify others who may have been in close contact.

The number of people and their roles have not been confirmed.

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In an email to staff on Friday, MediaWorks reported, the airline wrote: "We would like to reassure you that while you have no symptoms you are no risk to other people.

"All crew should continue with their lives as they otherwise would while these cases are investigated."

The memo reportedly advised staff to self isolate while overseas.

EARLIER REPORT

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

There are 76 new confirmed and nine probable cases.

There are eight people in hospital and one of these patients was in intensive care, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told reporters.

The patient was in Nelson Hospital on a ventilator. The person had a significant underlying health issue and their condition had deteriorated in the past 24 hours.

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The total of confirmed and probable cases is now 368 in this country.

On Friday morning, the nation entered its second day of lockdown.

Thirty-seven people have now recovered from Covid-19, which Bloomfield said was defined as being symptom-free for 14 days.

Bloomfield said the number of people with the disease was expected to start to level off in roughly 10 days' time.

He again called on anyone who was waiting to hear back about a test to stay in self-isolation.

The capacity for testing was now 2000 per day. That was on a par with Germany on a per capita basis, Bloomfield said.

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A strong link to overseas travel was still being seen in New Zealand cases, he said.

The Government is circulating appropriate advice on personal protection equipment (PPE) and this will be on the Ministry of Health's website later today.

The Government's national pandemic supply of PPE consists of:
• 1.9 million aprons and gowns
• 2.7 million gloves
• 60,000 eye protection equipment

"All stones are being turned over to make sure there are enough PPEs for all healthcare works in New Zealand," Bloomfield said.

Asked if there was an issue getting PPE equipment out across the country, Bloomfield said the distribution network was designed for non Covid-19 times. But that was being updated as the situation evolves: "The processes are getting in place."

The key thing when it came to PPEs was providing guidance to healthcare professionals.

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Bloomfield said he had not yet needed to sign an order required to unlock an emergency supply of personal protection equipment.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.

More special powers for the Government may be used as the lockdown continues, Bloomfield said.

A total of 2500 retired health professionals had returned to the workforce to help with the Covid-19 outbreak response, Bloomfield said.

Isolated reports of lockdown breaches

The director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, Sarah Stuart-Black, clarified that it was okay for people to go for a walk "locally" -but people were going to places where they might need others to come help them if they got in to trouble. That was not allowed, she said.

People were asked to stay out of the water because if they got into trouble they would need others to come and help them.

She reiterated that people should stay in their bubbles.

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People should "use their judgment" when selecting exercise options.

Civil Defence Emergency Management director Sarah Stuart-Black.
Civil Defence Emergency Management director Sarah Stuart-Black.

Stuart-Black thanked people for mostly staying home.

Information from the police suggested that generally, people were doing the right thing. However, there were isolated reports of some people congregating.

The race is on to find a vaccine for Covid-19, so when will one be ready? Video / AP

Stuart-Black said those people were reminded about their obligations during alert level 4.

Over the coming days, the number of Covid-19 cases will continue to rise. "Hang in there", was her advice.

Work and Income payments, such as the benefit, would continue while New Zealand was in lockdown.

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Stuart-Black said if someone was a visitor to New Zealand and needed financial support, they should contact their embassy.

There a now more than half a million cases of Covid-19 worldwide and 24,000 confirmed deaths.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told media yesterday that the first day of the lockdown had gone well.

"So far, so good," she said.

But an Auckland man is facing charges after being pulled over twice yesterday – he was not an essential worker and was not undertaking essential travel.

"The person was stopped last night and he was stopped the night before," Police Commissioner Mike Bush told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.

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Police Commissioner Mike Bush joins Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking to discuss police clamping down on people flouting coronavirus lockdown rules. Audio / Newstalk ZB

"He had no reason to be out there. That does show our people [are on to it].

"Unfortunately for him, he wasn't complying with a number of driving matters... he wasn't entitled to have that car or to be out there."

A police spokeswoman said the driver was stopped by the Auckland Motorways police team.

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