VIRUS LATEST
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* Latest developments and essential information


The number of deaths around the world from the Covid-19 pandemic has now passed 100,000, and the UK is reeling after its deadliest day.

As New Zealand records its second Covid-19 death, 980 people died in Britain in a 24-hour period, exceeding the worst days in Italy and Spain.

The number of deaths globally passed 100,000 on Saturday (NZT) - 101 days after Chinese health authorities first alerted the World Health Organisation of a new coronavirus in Wuhan.

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The worst affected country remains Italy, with 18,849 deaths so far. The US is now the second worst-affected country, with 17,925 deaths. Spain is third, with 15,970 deaths.

A total of 8958 patients have died in UK hospitals, up by 980 in 24 hours – the biggest rise in daily deaths yet. The UK's deadliest day has exceeded records set by both Italy (919) and Spain (950).

And the news is no less better in New York where 777 people died yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

"We continue to endure great pain … We feel this loss deeply as a state, community and New York family. It is a terrible, heartbreaking loss," he said.

But the Governor said he was "cautiously optimistic" the state's lockdown measures were helping slow the spread of the disease.

Back in New Zealand, a woman aged in her 90s is the second person infected with Covid-19 to die here.

The woman died in Christchurch's Burwood Hospital on Thursday, Deputy Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said yesterday.

Because of the level 4 restrictions her family was not able to visit her, or be with her, before her death.

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The woman's death came as former health and disability commissioner Ron Paterson, writing about reports of dying and critically ill hospital patients being denied family visits during the lockdown, called for "compassion and proportionate responses from health authorities".

"We should tread carefully before denying a patient's right to support, for in times of illness and death we all have a fundamental human need to be close to our nearest and dearest."

The Christchurch woman, among Rosewood Rest Home residents hospitalised this week after 20 residents and staff were identified as positive or probable Covid-19 cases, had a number of age-related health conditions, McElnay said.

The other person who has died was West Coast woman Anne Guenole, 73, who passed away in hospital on March 29, two days after testing positive for Covid-19. The virus has been particularly dangerous for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

The number of new New Zealand cases of the virus, which has infected 1.6 million and killed almost 100,000 worldwide, was yesterday at 44 - 23 confirmed and 21 probables - taking the overall number found to have the virus in New Zealand to 1283.

Sixteen people are in hospital; one each in Wellington, Waitematā, Waikato and Southern district intensive care units. Two are critically ill.

Of the total, 373 people have recovered.

The number of new infections was up from 29 on Thursday, but part of a downward trend in infections this week. There were 50 cases on Wednesday and 54 on Tuesday.

There are 12 infection clusters of more than 10 people and of yesterday's new cases, 14 were linked to existing clusters, McElnay said.

A strong but declining link to overseas travel continued, but with a growing link to confirmed cases.

The increase in cases yesterday confirmed New Zealand couldn't be "too complacent", she said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also urged Kiwis to stay the course on the four-week lockdown, which mandates that everyone stay home unless doing essential work, visiting essential services or exercising in their neighbourhood.

Ahead of the long Easter weekend, when police have set up road checkpoints to turn back those breaking the level 4 restrictions, Ardern acknowledged the "huge" sacrifices Kiwis were making against "the greatest threat to human health we've seen in over a century".

"We are turning a corner. But to succeed, we need it to keep working."

Ardern also reflected on her decisions as the Covid-19 threat grew.

Friends in countries already ravaged by the virus helped her decide to close New Zealand's borders, she told Stuff.

"[They were] saying, 'Go, just shut down, because here I am in lockdown with thousands of people dying. Just shut down'."

The Government decided very early on to reject the herd immunity model where the majority of the population is infected, but develops an immunity - but which can also cost thousands of lives, Ardern said.

"That was not us. It was never entertained by us."

Megan Purcell age 7 talks about what she thinks will happen to Easter this year due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Video / Dean Purcell

Life under lockdown continued to be challenging for many, with police yesterday confirming the number of family violence incidents had increased.

The first Sunday of the lockdown police recorded the most incidents since the stay home order began - 595. Callouts were highest in South Auckland's Counties-Manukau.

The total number of real incidents would likely be higher than those reported, assistant commissioner Sandra Venables said.

Anyone with concerns or information about family harm should contact police or, if in immediate danger, call 111 or ask a neighbour or passer-by to do so.

Lockdown also hasn't stopped thousands of Kiwis injuring themselves doing DIY or getting active.

Overall ACC claims were down about a third in the first week the country was at alert level 4, compared with the same week a year ago, but thousands of people were still being hurt.

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

DIY work sparked 243 claims, 116 relating to ladder use.

Fitness training sparked 189 claims, down from 1331 in the same week last year. There were 79 jogging-related claims, down from 1407. Forty-seven people were hurt mountain-biking and 75 skateboarding.

Meanwhile, Waikato District Health Board is investigating after the New Zealand Nurses' Organisation said Waikato Hospital nurses who contracted Covid-19 were told to take off protective gear to help a patient with respiratory symptoms.

No formal complaint had been received, but the board was seeking details about the allegation "to enable us to investigate and determine its validity", a spokesman said.

The board "strongly refutes any suggestion PPE (personal protective equipment) is being restricted and staff prevented from accessing masks and other protective equipment".

Members in other areas had also raised concerns about accessing PPE, the nurses' union said.

PPE wasn't being rationed and healthcare workers should contact their health board if they didn't have access to it, McElnay said.

A Lufthansa A380 flight took a scenic exit out of New Zealand yesterday, making a low pass over much of Auckland as it began a repatriation journey to Germany. Image / Supplied
A Lufthansa A380 flight took a scenic exit out of New Zealand yesterday, making a low pass over much of Auckland as it began a repatriation journey to Germany. Image / Supplied

And Aucklanders' spirits were yesterday lifted when the pilots of a Lufthansa repatriation flight flew their A380 low over the city.

"That was a poignant moment," one person tweeted of the farewell gesture.

"A Lufthansa [flight] doing a low flyover across Auckland Harbour as a little danke to Aotearoa before taking its relieved passengers home to Germany."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website