8 Mar 2020

No new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today

3:15 pm on 8 March 2020

The Ministry of Health says no new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in New Zealand today.

Patient samples at a safety workbench for coronavirus testing.

Photo: AFP

With 224 tests completed five people have now tested positive.

The ministry says Healthline received 2600 calls yesterday which is almost double the number of calls for the same time last year.

It says World Health Organisation information suggests Covid-19 spreads less efficiently than influenza but causes more severe illness.

Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus:

Meanwhile, some chemists are reporting a run on paracetamol, as customers stock up ahead of new restrictions.

From tomorrow, there will be limits on how much paracetamol can be dispensed for prescriptions because factories in China which make the drug's active ingredient have closed due to Covid-19.

Auckland Pharmacist Tracy Nguyen said orders for paracetamol have not appeared, and customers are buying many boxes at a time, so stocks are running low.

"We've had a lot of people come in and ask for paracetamol, like five or six boxes of paracetamol at the same time.

"We are actually running low, we haven't got any orders in the last few days of paracetamol, and our shelves do look quite empty."

Her store is likely to limit how many can be bought off-the-shelf.

She said hand sanitizer and masks have also been selling out, and many customers wanted supplements that could help their immune systems.

Minister of Health David Clark says at this stage, there is unlikely to be any further rationing of prescription drugs.

The anti-depressant fluoxetine is also being rationed because of a shortage.

But Dr Clark told TVNZ's Q and A programme that New Zealand is in a reasonable situation.

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