New Zealand is still Covid free and had its 18th day in a row of no new cases.

But health chief Ashley Bloomfield revealed the Ministry of Health was notified this morning of a possible case within the Auckland District Health Board which came back as a "weak positive" and made a "few hearts flutter". But a second test came back as negative.

He said it couldn't be guaranteed there wouldn't be another case found within New Zealand.

"We know this will happen."


Finding any new cases would be "a good thing" so it could be managed.

The country was prepared, Bloomfield said during his update on the first day of alert level 1, which he hoped would be his last 1pm press conference and that he hoped "they'd served their purpose".

When asked what he would do with his new public profile, he said: "I was just doing my job."

For anyone who wants to keep seeing Bloomfield they could go to Te Papa, which is now displaying artwork of him, he joked.

Bloomfield said Kiwis should "have a dance if the mood takes them" now we're in level 1.

"We've done the hard mahi here and the work has paid off."

He didn't do anything differently this morning himself, just got "got up and went to work".

Yesterday was the first day New Zealand was free of active cases in 101 days since the deadly virus arrived here. More than 1000 tests were processed yesterday.


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He reminded Kiwis and venues to continue to use the NZ Covid Tracer app. The next upgrade of the app will enable the ministry to send out push notifications to people who'd been in the same venue as someone who'd tested positive for the virus.

The Government yesterday decided to move the country to alert level 1 at midnight, meaning Kiwis this morning woke up to life being almost normal.

There are just eight other countries which do not have any active cases of Covid-19.

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No exemptions to attend funerals

From today, people in managed self-isolation and quarantine won't be able to apply for exemptions to attend funerals and tangi.

They will still be able to apply for compassionate leave to visit a dying relative, but they won't be able to attend a service.


Someone who may have been exposed to Covid-19 overseas now poses an even greater threat to New Zealanders under alert level 1, said Bloomfield.

On balance, Bloomfield said they thought this was an appropriate trade-off with the risks.

People should contemplate the change of rules before deciding to come back to New Zealand if it applied to their reason for returning, he said.

He said the change in rules had been part of the Government's preparations for alert level 1 and was an important measure for tightening border restrictions.

Health issues

There were a range of health issues now facing New Zealanders, including their mental and physical wellbeing through missing out on care during the lockdown and the impact of the economic crisis on mental wellbeing, said Bloomfield.

Border testing

Bloomfield stressed the importance of "very strict" border arrangements as the domestic economy opens up.


As well as the 14-day quarantine or managed self-isolation for arrivals, more measures have been put in place.

Everyone will be tested twice, whether they have symptoms or not - on about day 3 and 12.

This will allow officials to get a better idea of the risk of people coming into the country and will inform future arrangements at the border, Bloomfield said.

There had been 142 exemptions on compassionate grounds under alert level 2.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday she expected to see more Covid-19 cases.

"If we get one or two cases in the future - which will remain possible for some time to come due to the global situation and nature of the virus - we need to shut down those cases fast. The last thing ... we want to do is move up the alert level system again."