27 Mar 2020

Covid-19: PM Jacinda Ardern praises lab staff for 'tireless' work

3:51 pm on 27 March 2020

Covid-19: Jacinda Ardern praises lab staff for 'tireless' work

The Prime Minister has singled out the country's medical lab scientists for praise for their role in the fight against Covid-19.

Ardern has provided an update on the spread and containment of Covid-19 in New Zealand on the second day of the nationwide lockdown.

Watch the latest media conference here:

She told the briefing 1823 scientists at eight labs across the country were processing incoming tests 24 hours a day "to get the job done."

"They are on separate shifts and separate teams and on rotating rosters to preserve physical distancing and stay safe as they carry out this vital work to help in the tracking, tracing and elimination of Covid-19."

She said they were processing an average of 1479 Covid-19 tests a day and were continually going up a gear, with three new labs currently being set up.

"These lab staff are working tirelessly to ensure we know the true scale of the outbreak, and to ensure those with Covid-19 know, and get the appropriate care.

"I want to say on behalf of New Zealand, thank you for your work."

Earlier this afternoon, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said there were 85 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, with one person now in intensive care. The total number of confirmed and probable cases now stands at 368.

He said while 37 individuals had recovered, there were eight people in hospital, six of whom are stable. A man in his 70s is in Nelson Hospital's ICU in a critical condition.

Civil Defence Emergency Management director Sarah Stuart-Black said while most people were complying with the lockdown, there were several incidents of people gathering and police have responded to those.

The country is currently in a State of Emergency that will go on until next week. It is also in a lockdown for at least four weeks.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs