This article by RNZ.co.nz is published with permission under Kaniva News partnerships with Radio New Zealand.
A fifth person has died from Covid-19 in New Zealand, as the number of new cases remains steady at 19.
Watch the government’s latest update here:
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the fifth victim of Covid-19 to die from the coronavirus was a man is his 80s, who was being cared for at Burwood Hospital after being transferred from Rosewood Rest Home in Christchurch.
“We know that because of the underlying vulnerabilities of this group we need to be prepared for further illness and possible death.”
There are now 33 Covid-19 cases involved with the Rosewood cluster.
“Thirteen of the 33 were residents and 18 are staff.”
Dr Bloomfield said there were now 15 clusters around the country, with two new clusters in Auckland and Christchurch.
The 19 new cases included 15 confirmed cases and four probable. Yesterday, Dr Bloomfield announced New Zealand had another 18 cases of Covid-19, the lowest daily number in three weeks.
Dr Bloomfield said 546 people have recovered, up 75 on yesterday, and there have now been a total of 1349 cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.
Fifteen people are in hospital, with four in ICU. One is in a critical condition in Dunedin.
There were 1660 tests carried out yesterday, with the Health Ministry expecting to see a drop off in testing over Easter. There have now been 62,827 tests carried out in total.
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Speaking at the same media conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she hoped despite obvious restrictions, people had been able to have a meaningful Easter.
Bu the news of the fifth death was a “timely reminder that our battle with this virus is far from over”.
Ardern said the number of cases may be small but that didn’t mean we had successfully “hunted the virus down”.
To those who broke the lockdown rules weekend, she said it took just one case to spread among others.
If the country moved to level 3, people should treat it like a “waiting room”.
She said the government will this week set out details of what different alert levels would look like.
Further details of the impact on the economy will be released this week, including the impact on business and this year’s Budget.
“I understand the importance of this information for businesses and industries to plan.
She said now was not the time to deviate from the plan.
“Please stay home, please stay in your bubble, please break the chain of transmission to save lives.”
Ardern said there was no end date yet for stopping the strict border controls in place.
Border restrictions would help allow New Zealanders live as normal a life as possible, she said.
“We have to continue to reassure ourselves that people coming into our country are not a threat to other New Zealanders and our economy.”
If the virus was eliminated here, overseas travellers coming here would then pose the greatest risk to New Zealand, she said.
“We can have no tolerance for someone potentially bringing in Covid-19 and causing a chain of events that may be devastating.”
Ardern also made special note of the Kiwis working in healthcare around the world – especially nurse Jenny McGee who cared for UK PM Boris Johnson.
- If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP – don’t show up at a medical centre