This article is published with permission under Kaniva News partnerships with Radio New Zealand.
The number of new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand continues to slowly fall, with 26 confirmed and 24 probable cases in the past 24 hours.
Today’s total of 50 is a drop from yesterday, when 54 new cases were reported, which was down from the 67 new cases reported on Monday.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the total number of cases was now 1210 and another 41 people have recovered overnight. There have been no further deaths.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins is now speaking to the media. Watch live here:
Dr Bloomfield said a total of 282 people had now recovered.
Twelve people are in hospital, including four who are in intensive care. Two of those people are in a critical condition.
He said there were still 12 significant clusters of infection, with 84 cases in both the Marist College and Matamata clusters, and 81 cases in the Bluff cluster.
For all clusters, Dr Bloomfield said they would widen testing to people without symptoms but who might be at high risk.
He said he would be very surprised if anyone was declined for a test if they had Covid-19-like symptoms.
There were 4098 tests processed yesterday, the highest number so far.
Dr Bloomfield said 17 nurses and seven doctors have Covid-19. About a quarter of the cases were linked to overseas travel. Twenty support and care staff and three medical students are also currently infected with Covid-19.
“We are working on a breakdown to determine, of those who have acquired the infection onshore here, what proportion was inside the workplace and what was outside the workplace.”
He said 14 percent of cases were still being investigated for community transmission.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was cautiously optimistic that the country was starting to turn a corner, “but now is the time to stay the course”.
She said she could not give a definitive answer as to whether the lockdown will be extended.
“Ultimately what we want is control of the virus.”
Ardern said there was no shame or stigma about experiencing symptoms or needing to be tested for Covid-19.
Churches and places of worship will remain closed this Easter weekend, she said, and encouraged people to utilise online church services.
“Stay home and save lives.”
After the health update, Education Minister Chris Hipkins will address the media at 1.45pm.
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