Covid-19: 71 new coronavirus cases today – total now 868


Ambulance staff would not perform CPR on a confirmed Covid-19 case, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says.

This was a guideline adopted internationally, he said, and because the virus was spread via the respiratory system.

Bloomfield confirmed there are 71 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

The 71 cases are made up of 49 new confirmed cases and 22 new probable cases.

It brings the total to 868 cases in New Zealand since the pandemic began.

One person is in an ICU.

There have been 2000 lab tests a day, a total of almost 30,000 tests conducted so far.

Capacity was now 5400 tests a day, Bloomfield said.

10 big clusters in NZ

There are 10 significant clusters in New Zealand.

The biggest is at Marist College in Auckland.

On recovered cases, Bloomfield said the Government was continuing to watch international cases for criteria.

Flu jabs, PPE and testing capacity

Asked if the deadline for priority groups, such as over 65s, to get flu vaccine could be extended until the end of April, Bloomfield said he was considering this.

He hoped health workers would not be using their own PPE gear and said the Government had provided a lot of PPE gear around the country so this shouldn’t be the case.

Bloomfield said the Government had plenty of swabs, but was looking into their distribution.

New Zealand’s testing capacity was among the leading countries in the world, in terms of per capita testing. That testing was spread around the country, he said.

Kiwis in quarantine

Regarding the border, he said 300 people had arrived into New Zealand, and were all Kiwis returning home.

If people are symptomatic, they are quarantined and tested.

There 135 people in quarantine, at the moment.

He said many general practices around New Zealand were eligible for the wage subsidy.

When are people most infectious?

He provided an update on a recent WHO report that showed people are most infectious during the first few days.

He said people could be infections for one to three day before they showed symptoms, WHO reported.

He said there were no documented cases of asymptomatic transmission.

But he said physical distancing should still be practised.

National Action Plan

In terms of the National Action Plan, Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black said they were “standard documents” and were not secret.

“We have been open about what we have been trying to achieve in the national response.”

Having an action plan was critical to making sure people were on the same page.

She said the plan would be published online today.

“Do get outdoors for some exercise, but stay local,” she said.

Support for older Kiwis

Stuart-Black said half a million older New Zealanders had been in self-isolation since the lockdown began.

Check-in calls from the Government started on March 30.

The calls had been appreciated so far, Stuart-Black said.

She added an email had been sent to more than 300,000 seniors telling them their payments would continue.

It also informed them their winter energy payment had been doubled.

She asked people to continue to check on older New Zealanders.

Yesterday, Bloomfield revealed there were 89 new and probable confirmed cases – the highest number of new cases to date.

Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black and Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, will give a Covid-19 update. Photo / Mark Mitchell

But Bloomfield warned that number would continue to rise and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern echoed this comments later in the day.

Bloomfield is likely to field questions about the lockdown rules, after news Health Minister David Clark drove more than 2km to a biking track.

He has since admitted he was wrong to do that.

“Although cycling on gravel tracks is one of my usual forms of exercise these are not usual times,” he said in a statement.

“Even though I deliberately opted for an easy, local track, on reflection I realise I should have chosen a better option such as walking, running, or cycling on the flat.”

According to the Covid-19 website: “Personal walks and other active travel like cycling or scootering is fine … stick to simple outdoor exercise and avoid areas where you can get injured or lost”.