There are no new Covid-19 cases in New Zealand for the eighth day in a row and still only one active case.

Our total number of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1504 and the death toll at 22.

No one is receiving hospital-level care for Covid-19.

The one active case is in the Auckland District Health Board area.

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That single remaining case is someone aged 50-59 who was first registered as having Covid on May 1.

In order for them to be officially cleared, they need to show no symptoms for 48 hours.

Yesterday our laboratories completed 3020 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 278, 872.

The race is on to find a vaccine for COVID-19.

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The number of recovered cases remains unchanged at 1481.

Recovered cases are defined as people who have had the virus, are at least 10 days since the onset of the virus and have not exhibited any symptoms for 48 hours - and have been cleared by the health professional monitoring them.

The first case of Covid-19 in New Zealand was confirmed on February 28 and it peaked in early April when 89 new cases were reported in a single day.

New Zealand's borders were closed to non-residents on March 19, and people coming in were required to self-isolate for two weeks.

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However, border measures were tightened and all arrivals must now go into managed isolation for quarantine in some circumstances, still for two weeks.

Drop in testing

The ministry said there would likely be a drop in the testing numbers from this week, as it moved to largely testing symptomatic people with a continued focus on testing at the border.

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"We will keep our testing approach under constant review to respond to any changes as we have done to date."

As at May 29, there were 64 active Community Based Assessment Centres operating around the country and 105 designated practices, including mobile clinics, providing assessments and swabbing.

The ministry has requested that DHBs continue to ensure equitable access to testing for those who have symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

"Each DHB will be making its own decisions on how best to provide testing over the coming weeks and this may involve a mix of CBACs, mobile services, primary care and other community-based testing.

"Each DHB will determine when and if it is appropriate for them to close their CBACs, while ensuring that testing is available.

"We have continued to review and update our sentinel and surveillance testing strategy throughout the response. An updated testing strategy will be considered by Cabinet next week. We anticipate any updates on this strategy should be publicly available by mid-June."

Contact tracing

The NZ Covid Tracer app has now recorded 458,000 registrations – an increase of 12,000 since this time yesterday.

The ministry continued to encourage as many people as possible to download the app to help identify, trace, test and isolate any cases.

"We also recognise the work being done by businesses to get their unique QR codes up and running, and we will provide updated figures on this tomorrow," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it continued to closely monitor the timeliness of contact tracing using the performance metrics outlined by Dr Ayesha Verrall in her review of the service.

The key performance metric was the time it took from the notification of a case to the local Public Health Unit to having all close contacts isolated. The target is to have 80 per cent of close contacts isolated within 48 hours of notification to a PHU.

"The ministry is pleased that all the hard work by public health units over recent months is paying off and they are now meeting this target with 83 per cent of close contacts being isolated within 48 hours.

"The ministry does measure the time taken from the first onset of symptoms to the isolation of all close contacts but is not routinely reporting this data as we work on improving our confidence in the quality of the data.

"Timeliness of contact tracing depends in part on quick action by anybody with symptoms promptly seeking medical advice about getting a test."

Pressure to move alert levels

The low number of cases is putting pressure on the Government to move from alert level 2 to alert level 1.

New Zealand moved to alert level 2 on May 14 with new rules of conduct. Cabinet will review the rules of alert level 2 on June 8, and will consider a move to alert level 1 no later than June 22.

This is the first long weekend since lockdown lifted, and travel has been encouraged.

But leading epidemiologist Sir David Skegg is warning New Zealanders against any quick move to alert level 1.

"People who advocate a move to level 1 straight away are either ignorant or indulging in political posturing," he said.

He commended the cabinet for its plan to stay in alert level 2 for several weeks.
There was abundant evidence from other countries that favourable situations like New Zealands "can very quickly turn to custard."

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Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has been calling for a fast move to alert level 1 saying the health risks were outweighed by the need to address the economic crisis.

Yesterday, limits were eased to allow 100 people at all events and gatherings, with appropriate distancing and health controls, and the ability to trace attendees.