Updated: Five new Covid-19 cases in Canterbury today

Five new confirmed and probable Covid-19 cases have been reported in Canterbury today.

There are now 17 confirmed cases in the region and one probable case, which includes the Chatham Islands.

South Canterbury has a total of two confirmed cases.

The Ministry of Health updated the overall number of cases across New Zealand, revealing 78 new and probable cases Covid-19 bringing the national total number to 283.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health announced five new cases in Canterbury – four confirmed and one probable.

Two were women in their 20s, both linked to overseas travel- one had flown from San Francisco to Auckland on March 21 on flight NZ7 and then Auckland to Christchurch on March 21 on flight NZ527.

The other woman flew from London via Dubai and Sydney to Christchurch on March 13 on flight EK006.

A man in his 50s tested positive after flying from Sydney to Christchurch on March 13 on flight EK412.

A 50-year-old woman tested positive, but no other details were released. A female teen from Canterbury was listed as a probable COVID-19 case.

On Tuesday, there were three new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Canterbury region. Two were a man and a woman in Christchurch, both in their 60s, who are relatives of a confirmed case.

The other was a man in his 20s in South Canterbury who flew into NZ from Switzerland on March 16 via Abu Dhabi on flight EY0052.

During today's update, director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said a total of 27 people have recovered from the virus nationwide.

Seven people are in hospital and are stable. None are in ICU.

Yesterday 2417 tests were processed nationwide, taking the total number of tests to 12,683. About 1400 tests have been done daily in the last week.

People who have been tested must self-isolate from those in their household while awaiting the results of their tests.

Most cases are still linked to overseas travel or to existing clusters of confirmed cases, such as Marist College in Auckland and the world conference in Queenstown.

There are also possible clusters around a travel group to the US as well as a rest home in Hamilton and a wedding in Wellington.

Bloomfield said all people should be able to access pharmaceuticals they need, despite the stockpiling in recent days.

From tonight, pharmacists can only dispense one month supplies of pharmaceuticals, or three months for oral contraceptives.

He added that there were no significant shortages at the moment, but the measure was a precaution to ensure supplies of essential medicines.

"These are unprecedented times," Bloomfield  said.

The Alert Level 4 nationwide lockdown came into effect at 11:59pm yesterday, and police are on patrol around the country to ensure people are staying at home unless they have a valid reason to be outside.

Police Commisionor Mike Bush said this morning some people were not even aware that a nationwide lockdown had been ordered.

Yesterday there were 50 new confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19.

Six people were in hospital – three in Wellington, one on Rotorua, and two in Waikato - but none was in intensive care.

Twenty-two people who had previously tested positive are said to have recovered.

It comes as Covid-19 reached some of the smaller centres in the southern region yesterday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday formally placed the country in a national state of emergency for just the second time in our history; the only other time was after the Canterbury earthquake.

An official pandemic notice was also issued and, as if to emphasise the threat Covid-19 poses to all New Zealanders, soon after, people were confirmed with the disease in Roxburgh, Cromwell and Alexandra.

It was only a matter of time, Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said.

"This makes it very real. If you needed to make it real, it is this.’’

The three patients were not officially tallied by the Southern District Health Board.

It did say that additional cases in Otago were confirmed but details were unavailable.

The SDHB official southern total of cases is now 19 — 18 confirmed and one probable.

The new cases were two Dunedin women in their 20s, a Queenstown woman in her 30s, and a Wanaka man in his 20s.

"All cases have mild illness," a spokeswoman said.

With 19 official cases and details of more confirmed cases to come, the southern region is looming as a Covid-19 hotspot.

About 10% of New Zealand’s 205 cases are in the region.

Overall case numbers surged again yesterday, after another 50 confirmed and probable cases around New Zealand were announced by the Ministry of Health.

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