PM, Govt ministers and public sector chief executives to take 20 per cent pay cut

There are 20 new coronavirus cases in New Zealand as the Prime Minister reveals all Government ministers and public sector chief executives will take a 20 per cent pay cut for six months.

Ardern said the pay cut was about leadership and also reflected what was happening in the private sector.

"If there was every a time to close the gap between different positions, it's now."

"This is where we can take action which is why we have."

Bloomfield said today's new cases are made up of six confirmed cases and 14 probable cases.

It brings the total number of cases in New Zealand to 1386.

Thirteen people are in hospital and three are in ICU.

There is a new significant cluster which is also centred at an aged care facility in Auckland. There are now 16 clusters of more than 10 people.

Bloomfield said more than 100 health care workers had been infected with Covid-19 but less than five were the cause of the infection was the patient who they were caring for.

The majority was linked to overseas travel.

Bloomfield said he spoke with DHB chief executives last night about the need to increase testing.

Yesterday, New Zealand had its deadliest day with four people died from the virus. Three were from the Rosewood rest home cluster and a man in his 70s died in Wellington.

Our official death toll now stands at nine and Bloomfield cautioned more were likely. It is believed the 10th Covid-19 death is an Invercargill man, who passed away last night.

The number of global cases of Covid-19 is set to hit 2 million today. The death toll stands at more than 110,000.

Ardern is also expected to discuss ministers taking pay cuts this afternoon.

Ardern and Bloomfield said yesterday New Zealand was over the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak with 17 new cases.

Ardern said the continuing decline in new daily cases showed that the measures the Government had taken were working.

"We are successfully over the peak.

"But that is not the same thing as getting out of the woods."

Ardern said the deaths were a "sad and sobering reminder of the need to stay the course".

Epidemiologist Sir David Skegg said Cabinet would be playing "Russian roulette" with New Zealanders' health if it made a lockdown decision on Monday without first improving contact-tracing and surveillance testing.

Ardern said she was confident in the Health Ministry's contact-tracing, which was still improving, and although surveillance testing had not officially started, it was already happening in practice with wide-ranging testing across all regions.

The Government will decide on April 20 whether New Zealand will move down alert levels.

- NZ Herald







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