Thousands of Kiwis are injuring themselves doing everything from DIY to playing sports despite the country being in lockdown.

According to ACC data from March 25 to 31, the first week the country was at alert level 4 with major travel and exercise restrictions, overall claims are down to about a third of what they were in the same week last year.

But there are still thousands of claims coming in for activities, despite strong guidance for people to avoid anything high risk to keep emergency services free in case of a major Covid-19 outbreak.

The top category overall was for falls in the home, with just under 5000 injuries, down from about 9000 the year before.


There were 243 claims for DIY work in the first week of lockdown - down from 395 last year, and 116 claims related to ladder use, down from 226 the previous year.

Strains from lifting and carrying, and bites and scratches from animals and insects rounded out the top three in the home.

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Despite clear messaging from the Government to only do minor exercise, thousands of Kiwis are still injuring themselves practising sport.

The most-claimed activity, perhaps non-surprisingly, has been for people hitting the gym and doing fitness training, with 189 claims, although it is quite a drop from 1331 in the same week last year.

Water-related activities - ACC has not been able to further break it down at this stage - and rugby round out the top three, though they also tumbled substantially in numbers.

ACC head of injury prevention Isaac Carlson said Kiwis were still recording preventable injuries despite the lockdown. Photo / Supplied
ACC head of injury prevention Isaac Carlson said Kiwis were still recording preventable injuries despite the lockdown. Photo / Supplied

Despite huge numbers of people heading out jogging and cycling, those injury claims relative to other sports have dropped.

Jogging was the second-most claimed activity for the week in question in 2019 with 1407 claims, but dropped to seventh place with just 79 claims in the first week of lockdown.


While cycling dropped out of the top 15 sports, mountain-biking emerged to become the ninth most-claimed sport with 47 claims.

Skateboarding, which also didn't feature in the top 15 during the same week last year, has now jumped into eighth place with 75 claims.

The statistics also indicate Kiwis are heeding the advice not head out into the great outdoors, with injuries for tramping and rock-climbing bother dropping out of the top 15 claims.

In the workplace, agriculture, forestry and fishing have the highest injury rates, followed by construction, manufacturing and retailing. All workplace injuries have declined.

Road-related claims are down about 78 per cent, with car and motorcycle accidents remaining the biggest sources of claims.

Injuries to pedestrians and cyclists have both also dropped substantially.

Accidents outside the home have fallen by at least 70 per cent apart from on farms, which are still operating and where accidents are down 58 per cent from a year earlier.

There are 50 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand - the lowest daily total reported in a fortnight.

Accidents in the home have fallen by 52 per cent - a smaller drop-off given most people are staying at home.

ACC head of injury prevention Isaac Carlson said the data indicated people overall were being more careful, but warned people could be delaying making claims and seeking medical help during the lockdown.

"While these are unprecedented times, what hasn't changed is that most injuries are preventable.

"We're encouraging New Zealanders to be kind to one another and to take time to think about the risks to you and your whānau as you live, work and play around home.

"Most injuries that occur around the home can be easily prevented by simply slowing down and stopping to assess the risks.

"By avoiding preventable injuries, together we reduce the pressure on our health system and allow health professionals at the frontline to focus their efforts on fighting Covid-19.

"Our home is typically the place we feel safest but it's actually the most dangerous place in New Zealand, according to the volume of injuries that happen there each year."

More than 1.3 million injuries occurred in and around New Zealand homes last year, Carlson said.

Under lockdown rules "walks and other activities like cycling or scootering are fine", provided a 2-metre distance is kept from others.

The official Covid-19 guidance continues: "Stick to simple outdoor exercise, and avoid activities where you can get injured or lost. For example, don't go swimming, surfing, boating, hunting or tramping.

"It's important the emergency services remain available to support the response to Covid-19."

Exercise should also be done close to home, in the neighbourhood, without driving.