NZ goes 11 days with no new Covid cases

Ashley Bloomfield will join the Prime Minister at 4pm to reveal if NZ will come out of lockdown...
Ashley Bloomfield. Photo: NZ Herald
New Zealand has gone 11 straight days without a new Covid-19 case and Dr Ashley Bloomfield has offered advice to New Zealanders joining protests over the death of George Floyd.

The Ministry of Health updated its website at 1pm, saying there had been no new Covid-19 cases.

There were just 654 tests carried out yesterday, which was a public holiday. It brought the total number of tests completed to date to 282,263.

No one is currently in hospital receiving treatment and there is just one active case remaining.

There were no additional deaths to report.

The  total number of confirmed cases remains at 1,154, which is the number reported to the World Health Organization.

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1,504.

The number of recovered cases was unchanged at 1,481. Only one case remains active.

As noted by the Ministry yesterday, lower testing volumes were regularly observed over holiday weekends, and we recognise that this Alert Level 2 Queens Birthday, people will have taken the advantage of the renewed ability to travel and enjoy a break within New Zealand.

"We want to encourage and remind everyone that if they have any respiratory symptoms, they should seek advice from Healthline, their GP or after-hours clinic about getting tested.

"Testing is free. 

"As we've done to date, we are keeping our testing approach under constant review.

"New Zealanders can be assured that our testing capacity remains high and that testing at the border and in our communities will continue to be an essential part of our Covid-19 elimination strategy."

The NZ COVID Tracer app had now recorded 482,000 registrations – an increase of 6,000 since yesterday.

Gatherings at Level 2

Hundreds of people gathered in Dunedin’s Octagon yesterday to support the ‘‘Black lives matter’’...
Hundreds of people gathered in Dunedin’s Octagon yesterday to support the ‘‘Black lives matter’’ movement in the United States. PHOTOS: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield commented on the protests taking place around New Zealand.

"We're aware of several large gatherings in New Zealand yesterday to recognise the tragic death of George Floyd in the USA," 

"Anyone who attended these gatherings or who is planning to be at other upcoming events and feels they may be at risk by coming into close contact with people they don’t know, should take a cautious approach and seek advice.

"People can get that advice from Healthline, from their GP or after-hours clinic.

"Whatever the Alert Level in New Zealand, it's clear Covid-19 will continue to be a global threat for some time and it's important we remain vigilant - both as individuals and as a country.

This meant continuing to observe physical distancing to keep yourself and others safe, seeking appropriate heath advice, and most importantly staying at home if you're unwell.

"There's currently no evidence of community transmission in New Zealand so at this time, quarantine for 14 days after attending one of these outdoor events is not required.

"It's really important that people remain alert to symptoms and seek advice if they're at all concerned."

A reminder around the current Alert Level 2 rules on gatherings, which those organising and attending gatherings need to continue to take account of:

  • There should be no gatherings of more than 100 people
  • At those gatherings people need to be physically distanced

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said earlier today that Cabinet would look at when the country can move to alert level 1. She also criticised the lack of physical distancing displayed at yesterday's Black Lives Matter protests in Auckland and Wellington.

Alert level 1 means essentially all restrictions lifted, apart from border controls.

Ardern told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking she would raise that prospect with Cabinet today - earlier than expected - and a decision could be made as soon as June 8 to move 48 hours later into alert level 1.

In a weekend phone call the country's top health official, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, had agreed with Ardern that case numbers had "exceeded expectations", she told Mediaworks.

The events, in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, were held in solidarity with mass protests in the USA over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

More than 4000 people attended a protest in Auckland's CBD, where images showed physical distancing rules were not followed.

Before the New Zealand protests, infectious disease expert Dr Siouxsie Wiles warned that such gatherings - with large numbers of people shouting and singing - were the perfect environment for Covid-19 to spread.

 

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