There are two new Covid-19 cases today, one of which is an Auckland nurse who has tested positive for coronavirus.

The nurse is being cared for at North Shore Hospital and has been in self-isolation, director of public health Caroline McElnay says.

The nurse had been looking after St Margaret's patients at Waitakere Hospital and was among close contacts of another positive case announced last week.

Affected areas at Waitakere Hospital remain closed to further admissions and multiple precautions have been in place over the last week.


The other confirmed case is a probable case that has since been confirmed.

New Zealand's combined total of confirmed and probable Covid-19 cases is 1490, an increase of one.

There are 1141 confirmed cases in all and 1347 people with Covid-19 have recovered - 90 per cent of all confirmed and probable cases.

There are three people in hospital. None are in ICU.

There are no additional deaths to report.

Of the 16 significant clusters, four are now closed. The newly closed cluster is George Manning Rest Home in Christchurch.

McElnay said people with any symptoms needed to continue to be tested at level 3 as well as throughout level 2, whenever the country moves into that alert level.

She said people needed to remember that the country was still in level 3.


"Play it safe. We don't want a second wave," she sad.

"Keep your distance from others when outside your bubble. Parties are still not on."

It is day 11 of alert level 3, and with the lag time involved in Covid-19 infections, any spread of Covid-19 because of the easing from level 4 to level 3 should start to be reflected in the case numbers.

McElnay said the low case numbers were "a very good sign", but wouldn't be drawn on whether they were a reflection of how New Zealanders had handled the easier restrictions of level 3.

30 companies asked to return wage subsidy

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said about 30 companies had been asked to return the wage subsidy, while others were repaying it voluntarily because they had not lost as much revenue as they had expected.

Five of the six repatriation flights from South Africa had been cancelled, and Robertson said that Qatar Airways had decided not to go through with them. The High Commission in Pretoria was looking at more options to get New Zealanders home.

He said he didn't know why Qatar Airways had cancelled the flights from South Africa.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters said yesterday that Taiwan should be an observer of the World Health Organisation, which Robertson backed up today, given its success in quashing Covid-19.

Asked about calling Taiwan a "country", Robertson said New Zealand's position on Taiwan's status had not changed.

Jobseeker numbers - how does NZ compare to US?

Robertson said the increase in Jobseeker benefits - 40,000 since March 20 - was much smaller per capita compared to the US.

He said since the lockdown 4718 people - a tenfold increase from this time last year - had returned from overseas and were receiving a benefit.

These numbers were a fraction of the 1.6 million workers on Government wage subsidy scheme, he said.

Signs of more activity in level 3 included a 30 per cent increase of vehicle traffic, particularly trucks, as well as higher electricity, Robertson said.

The Budget next week has changed dramatically from what it has looked like at the start of the year, he said.

Robertson said the Budget next week would be part of an ongoing "rolling maul" about handling the impact of Covid-19.

Asked about unemployment once the wage subsidy scheme expired, Robertson said Treasury's forecasts will be included in next week's Budget.

He said more people would go back to work under level 2, but other sectors would continue to face restricted activity and announcements to help those sectors would be coming soon.

"Losing your job causes an enormous amount of distress and we absolutely understand and feel that."

Asked about a phased movement into level 2, Robertson said a mass gathering of 100 people had seen transmission of Covid-19 previously - but it would be up to Cabinet to decide on Monday.

Robertson said international students returning to New Zealand could open up "into next year and beyond", given New Zealand's current success in its elimination path.

"That's not going to be happening anytime soon."

It would be "very unlikely" that they could return by the middle of this year in time for universities' next semesters.

He said Air NZ understood the need for physical distancing on their flights once domestic travel opened up again under level 2.

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Yesterday there was only one new case, linked to the Matamata cluster, and a record 7323 daily tests were processed.

Cabinet will decide on Monday whether the country is ready to move to level 2, based on the advice of director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield.

Bloomfield said yesterday he would need the latest data before providing advice, but for the moment the signs were good and there was still no indication of widespread community transmission.

"We are where we want to be. We were quite confident [at the end of level 4] and that has continued through alert level 3.

"If we get a similar result [yesterday] and [today], I think that's a very reassuring picture."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday laid out what life under level 2 would look like, but warned aspects of it might be phased in depending on the public health advice.

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New Zealanders will be able to return to friends, the shops, restaurants and hairdressers, and domestic travel will give the tourism sector a lifeline.

Under the rules, no more than 100 people will be allowed in any one place and strict rules will apply to ensure distancing and hygiene.

At pubs and restaurants, all customers must be seated and well enough apart to ensure distance. Malls and large retailers must restrict the numbers in shops.

Hairdressers and beauty therapists must use personal protective equipment and regularly clean surfaces touched by customers such as benches and door handles.

Robertson told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking today some business sectors - including some in the hospitality industry - would still find it tough to operate in level 2.

"We have been working closely with hospitality over the last couple of weeks. We think they can make it work for many but obviously for some these restrictions are going to be a bit tough.

"We said from day one we'll continue work with some on what further support we can provide but this is the new normal - we are going to be in this position for a little while as the world grapples with the virus."