New Zealand's upperhand over Covid-19 has been tinged with the sadness of news of a fifth death - and a warning from the Prime Minister we won't be coming out of lockdown early.

A futher 19 cases have been reported in the past 24 hours but almost four times that many people - 75 - have been reported as recovered in the same period. It means the number of active cases has fallen from 855 to 798.

The fifth person to die is a man in his 80s - he is the third death from a cluster at the Rosewood rest home in Linwood, Christchurch.

The man had been moved from Rosewood to nearby Burwood Hospital, where it was announced today a staff member had also contracted Covid-19.


There are now 15 clusters in New Zealand, up two. One of the new clusters involves residents and staff an Auckland rest home, although Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield did not give any further details at today's Covid-19 update.

Bloomfield gave the briefing alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The other Rosewood patients to die were a 90-year-old woman and a man in his 70s. Fears remain for other dementia patients at the home.

"We need to be prepared for more possible deaths," Bloomfield said.

Canterbury DHB is investigating how Covid-19 got into the rest home.

Referring to the Burwood worker, Bloomfield warned that personal protective equipment (PPE) is "not a failsafe".

New Zealand is now into day 19 of lockdown - with the Cabinet set to decide early next week whether we will drop to alert level 3 on or about Thursday next week (10 days' time).

The 19 new cases announced today are made up of 15 confirmed and four probable cases. So far, 546 people have recovered. That's up 75 on yesterday.


The new total number of cases is 1349 - 798 of them are active. There are 15 people in hospital, with four in intensive care. One is in a critical condition in Dunedin.

Ardern sounded a warning that New Zealand was not yet ready to move from alert level 4.

"Our battle with this virus is far from over," she said.

"New Zealand does not take this lightly, and neither should you," she said of rule breakers caught over the weekend.

And she called alert level 3 a "waiting room".

"This is a place we go while we are checking if we have things genuinely under control."


On Monday the Treasury will be releasing unemployment and economic information. And Ardern also confirmed that there had been high-level discussions involving the Government and the media sector, with announcements also likely this week.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Grant Robertson will also make a speech on the next step for businesses, including an announcement on the Budget.

On Thursday, Ardern will provide more detail about what life in alert level 3 will look like.

"We are very aware of the need to get more of our economy running," she said.

Ardern said the Government would be providing "as much detail as possible" for businesses. "It will be a very clear guide."

Ardern said it was hard to forecast the pandemic's full economic impact - but she said New Zealand would take a "significant hit" given its status as a trading nation. Even if New Zealand won the battle here, we were still part of the global economy.


Ardern said she had seen stories about nurse Jenny McGee from Invercargill, credited by UK PM Boris Johnson for helping save his life.

Ardern praised McGee and revealed she had reached out to her on Facebook but had yet to hear back. McGee was back working with virus victims in her London hospital earlier today.

The Prime Minister warned against people being complacent and said there was "no end date" for the current restrictions on New Zealand's border, which she wanted to make "the smartest in the world" using the "best science" available.

"We can have no tolerance for someone bringing in Covid-19," she said, when pressed on New Zealand's border restrictions.

Ardern said there were 1067 people in managed isolation - people who had come into New Zealand since the lockdown.

Ardern said caution was still needed but New Zealand is "heading in the right direction".


Meanwhile, asked about a petition to make him New Zealander of the Year, Bloomfield was coy.

"Leadership is an invitation to collective action," he said. "This is a joint effort," he said.

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Meanwhile, the Covid-19 death toll in the US has surpassed 20,000, and 10,000 in the UK.

So far, more than 100,000 people worldwide have died from Covid-19.

New Zealand's total Covic-19 count is up to 1330, but Bloomfield is optimistic Kiwis should take heart the collective efforts to stamp out Covid-19 appears to be working.


"It's encouraging that we're seeing a smaller number of cases and I think all New Zealanders should take heart that our collective efforts are paying dividends." The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website