Check in here for the key, verified facts on how New Zealand is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

1:00pm Sunday 24 May - day 11 at alert level 2

Today there are no new cases of Covid-19.

This means our total case number remains at 1504.  

1154 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

1456 people have recovered, which is 97% of cases. 

There is one person in hospital, not in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 3302 tests completed. There have been 259,152 tests done in total. 

The Ministry of Health is encouraging people to sign up to the NZ COVID Tracer app, a tool to help identify, trace, test and isolate cases of Covid-19. So far there have been 354,000 app registrations, including 30,000 new sign ups in the last day.

The Ministry of Health says personal information and contact details provided through the app will only be used if someone has been identified as a close contact with a Covid-19 case. The location information is recorded on the user’s phone and it is up to the user whether to share it with contact tracers.

NEW CASES May 24 

1:00pm Saturday 23 May - day 10 at alert level 2

Today we’re back to no new cases of Covid-19.

This means our total case number remains at 1504.  

1154 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

1455 people have recovered, which is 97% of cases. 

There is one person in hospital, not in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 5604 tests completed. There have been 255,850 tests done in total.

1:00pm Friday 22 May - day 9 at alert level 2

Today there is one new case of Covid-19.

It is connected to the St Margaret’s rest home cluster in Auckland. The person has been in isolation since level 4 began, and the Ministry of Health says this shows “the 'long tail' of COVID-19 and why ongoing vigilance is so important.”

This means our total case number is now 1504.  

1154 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

1455 people have recovered, which is 97% of cases. 

There is one person in hospital, not in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 5408 tests completed. There have been 250,246 tests done in total. 

293,000 people have now downloaded the government’s NZ Covid Tracer app. The Ministry of Health is encouraging “as many people as possible to download the app”.

For those worried about privacy, the government says location data is not accessible to them. It’s only stored on your phone, and you choose whether you release the information.

Your contact details and personal information will only be used to get in touch with you, and only if you have been a close contact of someone with the virus.

1:00pm Thursday 21 May - day 8 at alert level 2

Today there are no new cases of Covid-19.

This means our total case number stays 1503.  

1153 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest (350) are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

1452 people have recovered, which is 97% of cases. 

There is one person in hospital, not in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 6113 tests completed. There have been 244,838 tests done in total. 

Around 650 funerals and tangihanga have been registered since we moved to alert level 2.

The Ministry of Health is urging people to get a flu vaccine. “It is of much more value in people's arms than it is sitting on the shelves, so please do go out and get your flu jab,” says Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

 

1:00pm Wednesday 20 May - one week at alert level 2

Today there are no new cases of Covid-19.

This means our total case number stays 1503.  

1153 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest (350) are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

1447 people have recovered, which is 96% of cases. 

There is one people in hospital, not of them in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 4882 tests completed. There have been 238,725 tests done in total.

The government has launched a new tracing app today, the NZ COVID Tracer. 

It is being called a “digital diary”, and you use it to scan QR codes when you enter a business.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the government will not store any of the location data - that information is only stored on your own phone and is deleted after 31 days.

The government worked closely with the Privacy Commissioner to develop the app, Dr Bloomfield says.

“Privacy has been a major consideration and we recognise the real importance that people are confident that their information is kept private.”

“The only information that is held by the Ministry is the contact info that you provide when you register,” he says.

If the Ministry of Health needs to trace your contacts, then you can agree for your location information to be made available. It will only be used for contact tracing, not for enforcement (so they won’t be able to use it to spy on you if you’ve been at a gathering of over 10 people).

Over 92,000 people have registered for the app so far.

 

1:00pm Tuesday 19 May - our sixth day at alert level 2

Today there are no new cases of Covid-19.

But our total number of cases has increased by four, because some cases that were previously classified as under investigation have now been recorded as positive cases.

The four cases were New Zealanders who returned in April from a cruise ship in Uruguay.

They had all tested positive for Covid in Uruguay, however it wasn’t clear whether their cases had been reported to the World Health Organisation for the global total. So the cases had been classified as under investigation to avoid them being double-counted.

It has now been confirmed that Uruguay did not report those cases, so New Zealand is. All four cases are now recovered.

This means our total case number has now gone up to 1503.  

1153 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest (350) are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

1442 people have recovered, which is 96% of cases. 

There are two people in hospital, none of them in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 3125 tests completed. There have been 233,843 tests done in total.

 

3:00pm Monday 18 May - our fifth day at alert level 2

On Wednesday this week the Government will release a “digital diary” contact tracing app.

It’s been built through the Ministry of Health, and can be used by the public and businesses. The Prime Minister says its purpose is “to aid not to replace” contact tracing.

“We wanted to give greater certainty about the use of the data that is collected,” she says.

Today is the first day back at school for face-to-face lessons. About 80% of students have attended school today, says the Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

 

1:00pm Monday 18 May - our fifth day at alert level 2

Today there are no new cases of Covid-19.

This means our total case number remains at 1499.  

1149 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

There are 45 active cases in the country.

1433 people have recovered, which is 96% of cases. 

There are two people in hospital, none of them in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 2570 tests completed. There have been 230,718 tests done in total. This is over 4% of all New Zealanders.

 

1:00pm Sunday 17 May - our fourth day at alert level 2

Today there is one new case of Covid-19.

The new case is linked to the Rosewood rest home cluster in Christchurch. 

This means our total case number remains at 1499.  

1149 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

There are now only 45 active cases in the country.

1433 people have recovered, which is 96% of cases. 

There are two people in hospital, none of them in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 4,211 tests completed. There have been 228,148 tests done in total. This is over 4% of all New Zealanders.

The Ministry of Health said in a statement that as New Zealanders move into a new phase with the return to work and school it is natural to have feelings of anxiety. Help is available through the COVID-19: Mental health and wellbeing resources.

NEW CASES May 17

1:00pm Saturday 16 May - our third day at alert level 2

Today we’re back to zero new cases of Covid-19.

This means our total case number remains at 1498.  

1148 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

There are now only 49 active cases in the country.

1428 people have recovered, which is 95% of cases. 

There are three people in hospital, none of them in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 7,150 tests completed. There have been 223,937 tests done in total. This is over 4% of all New Zealanders.

 NEW CASES 16 MAYMAP UPDATE ACTIVE CASES 16 MAYMAP UPDATE 16 MAYHEALTH UPDATE 16 MAY

1:00pm Friday 15 May - our second day at alert level 2

Today there is one new case of Covid-19.

The person had symptoms two months ago, but a test at the time returned a negative result. 

In a recent follow-up test, the result came back positive. The person was in isolation for the lockdown period and is not considered infectious now. They are associated with the Auckland Marist School cluster.

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says while the case is not infectious, it “does demonstrate once again that we must stay vigilant”.

“Covid-19 will continue to linger, so we need to keep consistently doing the things which will help keep all New Zealanders safe and allow us to continue to relax restrictions.” 

This new case brings our total number of cases to 1498.  

1148 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

There are now only 56 active cases in the country.

1421 people have recovered, which is 95% of cases. 

There are two people in hospital, neither of them in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 7174 tests completed. There have been 216,787 tests done in total. This is over 4% of all New Zealanders.

As we go into our first weekend at level 2, the Ministry of Health is reminding people of the safety measures needed to make sure we don’t see an uptick in cases:

  • If you’re sick do not socialise or go to work or school. Stay home.
  • When you’re out, keep your distance from other people.
  • If you have symptoms, get tested immediately.
  • Wash your hands.
  • No more than 10 people at any social gathering, indoors or outdoors.
  • Keep a record of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen.

 

1:00pm Thursday 14 May - our first day at alert level 2

Today, for the third day in a row there are no new cases of Covid-19.

The total number of cases remains at 1497 .  

1147 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

1411 people have recovered, which is 94% of cases. 

There are two people in hospital, neither of them in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 6568 tests completed. There have been 209,613 tests done in total. This is over 4% of all New Zealanders.

On our first day out of lockdown at alert level 2, the Ministry of Health is reminding us to:

  • Keep distance from other people, especially on public transport.
  • If you’re sick, stay home - don’t go to work or socialise. Contact your doctor or Healthline right away and get a test.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • No gatherings of over 10 people.

Keep a record of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen. (You can use our handy template here!)

4:00pm Wednesday 13 May - day 16 at alert level 3

Funerals and tangi will now be allowed to have up to 50 people attend at level 2.

For this to happen, funeral directors will need to register with the Ministry of Health for an exemption and show they can meet public health measures like distancing, hand hygiene and no food or drink.

The decision has been announced by Health Minister David Clark, and came after significant public pressure.

The government spoke to iwi leaders, churches and funeral directors this morning in making this decision.

He says limits around funerals and tangihanga was “one of the most difficult issues” during the lockdown.

“Around the world we have seen the virus spread at funerals, as well as a second wave of infection taking hold just as countries were getting on top of the virus like we are now.”

As examples, he says in the United States a funeral of 100 people led to 30 deaths, three funerals in South Africa led to 200 cases and one funeral home in Canada has had 143 cases linked to it.

Tangihanga often take place over a number of days, and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says this is still allowed - there is no restriction requiring tangi to happen all on one day. 

Multiple groups of 50 will be allowed to move through.

 

1:00pm Wednesday 13 May - day 16 at alert level 3

Today there are no new cases of Covid-19.

The total number of cases is now 1497 .  

1147 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

1142 people have recovered, which is 94% of cases. 

There are two people in hospital, neither of them in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 5961 tests completed. There have been 203,045 tests done in total. This is just over 4% of all New Zealanders.

At 11.59pm tonight we move to alert level 2.

“Today's figures do reinforce that we are on the right path,” says Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

 

1:00pm Tuesday 12 May - day 15 at alert level 3

Today there are no new cases of Covid-19.

The total number of cases is now 1497.  

1147 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

1398 people have recovered, which is 93% of cases. 

There are two people in hospital, neither of them in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 2893 tests completed. There have been 197,084 tests done in total.

Hospital visits will be allowed under alert level 2. In high risk areas like emergency, intensive care or maternity wards, only one visitor will be allowed for one visit per day. 

In other parts of the hospital more than one visitor is allowed, but they must visit one at a time.

DHBs will receive the biggest-ever increase in funding in the 2020 budget - $3.9 billion over four years.

“We never know when the next virus or health emergency is going to come, but when it arrives, we know that it pays to have a world-class health system in place to deal with it,” says the Prime Minister.

 

4:00pm Monday 11 May

On Thursday this week we will move to level 2 - meaning retail, malls, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, playgrounds and gyms can open, as long as they follow physical distancing and strict hygiene measures.

Next week, on Monday 18 May schools will open.

Then on Thursday 21 May bars will be able to open, as long as patrons can be seated, they can maintain social distancing requirements and only have one server per table.

Gatherings will be limited to a maximum of ten people. This includes visitors at home, parties, church services and social events like weddings.

But if you have a family that’s larger than 10 you are allowed to see them. “We’re not suggesting you throw anyone out of the house,” says the Prime Minister. “We just don't want you to have a large gathering yet.”

Many of our clusters have started at events, like a wedding reception, a stag do, and at a bar. “When we come together to socialise in large numbers with one another there is risk.” 

This will be revised in two weeks if case numbers continue to stay low.

The Prime Minister says the delayed opening for bars is important because of the close proximity of customers. South Korea opened bars and then needed to close them again after one person resulted in a cluster of 40 cases and 1500 tests.

“In ten days time we will have reopened most businesses in New Zealand.”

A move to alert level 2 was judged to be safe because of our low case rate and the building up of our health and contact tracing systems. “None of that has been through luck, but rather hard work.”

She says identifying new cases through rapid testing and contact tracing is 90% as effective as a vaccine. “Speed is of the essence - the clock starts as soon as someone feels sick.”

The Prime Minister has acknowledged the sacrifices New Zealanders have made, from children who were unable to celebrate birthdays, those who “lost loved ones and were unable to say goodbye and mourn properly” and business owners “that spent years building up only to watch it and their workforce suffer terribly.”

Health

If you are even slightly sick, stay home. If you even just have a runny nose or a sore throat, get a test. Wash your hands “all of the time”. Wash keys and door handles, and don't pass people your phone.

Borders

Borders will remain closed to everyone except New Zealanders. Any New Zealanders who enter the country will be placed in isolation for 14 days.

Bubbles

You no longer need to stick to your bubble.

You can have friends and family over to your home but no more than ten people. 

Physical distancing

Keep 2 metres from strangers. In places where contact tracing can easily happen, like workplaces, it can be less than 2m. 

Business 

On-site business and services at people’s homes can restart.

Hairdressers, retail stores, cafes, restaurants and hospitality can reopen but “must play it safe”. This means:

  • Physical distancing in store.
  • Hairdressers and beauticians need to wear PPE, because it is “virtually impossible to do this job without being in close contact with clients.”
  • Contact tracing. A nationwide tech solution to help businesses contact trace those who come onto their premises is being developed. In the meantime, businesses need to keep records of who comes on-site.

Hospitality businesses can only reopen if they can apply the 3 S rule:

    • Seated: people must be seated, so you can only have as many people in your venue as you can safely seat. 
    • Separated: there must be social distancing between tables.
    • Single server: there must be table service, not going up to counters.

 

Gatherings

All gatherings have a maximum limit of ten people.

Previously it had been said that level 2 would allow for gatherings of up to 100 people.

Weddings, music events, religious services and funerals can be held but with a 10-person limit.

Public venues like museums and markets will also be allowed to open but also with the distance and hygiene limits.

Travel

Travel around the country is allowed but must be done safely, with physical distance at airports and on public transport.

Recreation and sport

Playgrounds, gyms, public pools and courts will open, and all water activities can start.

Some community sports will be able to return to play more quickly than others while health requirements are worked through.

Domestic professional sport will be able to start, but the rules around mass gatherings will apply, so no crowds of over 100 people.

Education

Early learning centres, schools and tertiary education can open from Monday 18 May.

If an institution has a probable case it will need to close for 72 hours for contact tracing, and potentially remain closed for another 14 days.

 

 

1:00pm Monday 11 May - day 14 at alert level 3

At 4pm today we’ll find when the country moves to alert level 2.

Today there are three new confirmed cases of Covid-19.

The total number of cases is now 1497.  

1147 of these are confirmed cases, which is the number that we report to the World Health Organisation, and the rest (350) are probable. 

There are no new deaths.

1386 people have recovered, which is 93% of cases. 

There are two people in hospital, neither of them in intensive care.

Yesterday there were 3865 tests completed. There have been 194,19 tests done in total.