There is one new death and six new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, according to Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

The new death takes the country's total toll to 14. She was a woman in her 80s from the Rosewood rest home cluster in Christchurch where seven others have died.

The woman had been considered a probable case.

She had not been tested for the virus but was treated as a confirmed case based on her exposure history and clinical symptoms.


Bloomfield said every person New Zealand loses to Covid-19 is a tragedy.

He has given his daily press conference, along with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has provided an update on alert level 3, which comes into effect at 11.59pm on Monday.

The total number of cases is now 1451. So far, 1036 have recovered, meaning the number of active Covid-19 cases is 401.

Bloomfield said there are 11 people in hospital – two in ICU, in Middlemore and Dunedin hospitals.

They are both reported as being in a stable condition.

He also this afternoon revealed the Ministry of Health is developing a visitor policy for District Health Boards under alert level 3.

He said he would have more to say on that within the next few days.

Asked when New Zealand will get down to zero new cases, Bloomfield said the aim was to stop any on-going infections.


"This is the situation we wanted to be in, and the situation we want to stay in," he said.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Ardern confirmed Health Minister David Clark and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will be returning to Wellington under alert level 3.

Both have not been in the capital over the alert level 4 period.

Ardern said three of the six cases today were connected to overseas travellers. The people in question had been on the Greg Mortimer cruise ship.

The other three were related to existing clusters.

Those returning to New Zealand will continue having to be quarantined when they return, Ardern said.


There are 2403 people who have returned home that are in quarantine - in hotels.


Ardern provided a reminder to people that although the country is going into alert level 3 on Monday, New Zealand is still in level 4 this long Anzac weekend.

Police told her that 99.99 per cent of people are obeying the rules but there had been 4128 breaches, 430 prosecutions and 115 youth referrals.

She urged Kiwis to stay home this weekend.

"While we are looking forward to things we can do under level 3, we must not risk the gains that we have made."

"Each and every one of these people breaching the rules risks undoing the work of others."


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Over the long Easter weekend, police were out in force, stopping people who were outside their bubbles.

It is expected to be a similar situation this weekend.

Moving to level 3

Ardern encouraged people to "support local businesses" when NZ goes into alert level 3 and do research around if their favourite takeaway providers delivery, or contactless pickup.

Bloomfield said a new order means some businesses will be able to work over the coming days to prepare for level 3, if they can do so safely.

Ardern said she expected 400,000 people to return to work next week. "Safety is paramount" in moving to level 3.


She said work the Auckland City Rail link will continue in alert level 3 - more than 200 workers will get back to work.

That will ramp up to 400 over the coming weeks.

She said getting transport infrastructure projects back on track is a focus for the Government.

State Highway maintenance will also resume under level 3, she said.

There will be an announcement around hunting rules under level 3 tomorrow.

The Health Minister David Clark and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will be returning to Wellington under level 3.


Both have not been in the capital over the level 4 period.

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Asked about iwi checkpoints across New Zealand, she said police have been working closely with iwis.

She said they have been "operating within the law".

"Police know the intention is to look after each other."

She said she has had not heard reports of people being bullied at any checkpoints.

Ardern disagrees with her old principal

Ardern said she disagreed with comments from the principal of her old school, John Inger of Morrinsville College.


Inger criticised the decision that allows some students back to school next week, telling parents their children can die from the virus and the Government has passed on child-minding duties to teachers.

In a three-page newsletter obtained by the Herald, he warned of the "potential disaster" of sending children back to the school once level 4 lifts next week.

He said some parents might be sending children back to school simply because they are a "pain in the neck" at home.

Children can contract Covid-19 and pass it on when asymptomatic, and they can die," said Inger, citing the Marist College cluster in Auckland.

And while the school would try to maintain social distancing rules for children, this could not be guaranteed, he said.

Ardern said today Inger probably had her in mind when he made the comments - her father was a police officer and her mother a teacher, both essential workers so she likely would have had to return to school.


Ardern thanked all cleaners around the country.

She said they have been essential in preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Small businesses

During the Epidemic Response Committee sitting yesterday, Labour MP Deborah Russell downplayed the economic impact of Covid-19 on businesses.

"We are seeing businesses struggling after only a few weeks in a pretty bad situation, which must speak to the strength of those small businesses going into this lockdown."

She said she was worried that people had started a small business without understanding "how to survive a setback".

Arden said today she disagreed with the comments.


"We are seeing businesses struggling after only a few weeks in a pretty bad situation, which must speak to the strength of those small businesses going into this lockdown."

She said she was worried that people had started a small business without understanding "how to survive a setback".

Random testing

There are still 16 clusters of Covid-19 around the country.

Yesterday there were 5289 tests - a record high. There have been more than 94,000 tests.

Bloomfield said there is wider testing across New Zealand, with a specific focus on Maori and Pasifika.

There will be more testing of selective groups across the country, he said. That means more random testing.



Ardern disagreed with assertions that the Government has not been good enough when it comes to the rollout of flu vaccinations.

She said older New Zealander have been prioritised.

"We moved early, we got more vaccines."

Ardern said she is not trivialising the opinions of frontline workers, who have had concerns with the rollout of flu vaccines.

Bloomfield said Pharmac has moved to secure 400,000 flu vaccines ahead of Covid-19.

He said the Ministry of Health has done more work than usual when it comes to the flu vaccines.


He said Kiwis can "rest assured" that the Government is already working actively on how the Government will distribute a Covid-19 vaccine once it becomes available.

Asked if GPs need more funding, Ardern said the Government has already provided money for those in this sector.

She added GPs are eligible for the wage subsidy.

Asked for her reaction to reports that front line health staff have been bullied for asking for more PPE equipment, Ardern said it was not acceptable.

She said the Government wants front line workers to have access to as much PPE equipment as they need.

"We do not have an issue with the stock of PPE."


Every time an issue was raised, the Government followed up.

"Please keep giving us those examples so we can flush them out.

"We have a health system where workers should speak freely about concerns they have."

Airline staff

Bloomfield said there are stringent guidelines in place for airline staff still flying internationally that are keeping air trade still going.

The guidelines would limit the chance of Covid-19 coming back into the country.

Bridges' comments

Asked if National leader Simon Bridges was politicising Covid-19 and the lockdown extention, Ardern said she was not paying attention to what Bridges was saying.


She said she was "utterly focused" on the Government's Covid-19 response.

Bridges has denied claims his colleagues in the National Party are trying to oust him as leader, following backlash against a social media post criticising the Government's Covid-19 preparedness.

Canadian shooting

Arden said she reached out to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to express New Zealand's sympathies after a mass shooting on Sunday.

A 51-year-old man went on a shooting rampage across the northern part of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on Sunday, killing 17 people, including a policewoman. Officials said the suspected shooter was also dead.

The man was identified as Gabriel Wortman and authorities said he disguised himself as a police officer in uniform at one point and mocked up a car to make it seem like a Royal Canadian Mounted Police cruiser.

He was arrested by the RCMP in a service station in Enfield, Nova Scotia, northwest of downtown Halifax. Police later announced that he had died.


"This is one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province's history," said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil.

Auckland's first death

Yesterday, Bloomfield revealed there were just five new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand – bringing the total number of cases to 1445.

Some 1,006 people have recovered from Covid-19.

He also reported the death of a woman in her 70s - Auckland's first - who was part of the St Margarets hospital cluster.

She had underlying heath conditions, Bloomfield said.

The new low number of Covid-19 cases is encouraging – it's been trending down for a number of days.


And the new figures come as the Ministry of Health continues to ramp up its testing regime.

On Monday, there were just over 3,000 Covid-19 tests processed, taking the new total to just under 90,000.

And so far, none of the random tests have come back with a positive reading. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website