For the fifth straight day, there have been no further confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus in New Zealand, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has confirmed.
Dr Bloomfield and Waitematā DHB chief executive Dr Dale Bramley have spoken at a media conference in Auckland this afternoon.
Watch the briefing here:
The numbers in New Zealand stay at five confirmed cases and two probable cases.
Dr Bloomfield said two cases that required hospitalisation were now recovering at home.
"I think one of the things that can give us confidence is we have quite a small number (of confirmed cases) to date," he said.
He said the number of close contacts to confirmed cases was dozens and casual contacts was hundreds.
"The casual contacts, the people are at very low risk of becoming infected."
To be deemed safe to be back in the community, a person had to be symptom free for at least 48 hours, Dr Bramley said. A test wasn't required.
Earlier today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) labelled the outbreak a global pandemic.
Dr Bloomfield said the declaration would not change how New Zealand responded to the virus as it was already treating it seriously.
Europe and the US were two areas of concern for health officials, Dr Bloomfield said.
"For the cases that we have had here, all the close contacts remain in self-isolation," Dr Bloomfield said.
They were being checked on regularly by health professionals
North Shore Hospital staff who came into contact with a probable case of the virus were mostly now back at work, he said.
The number of tests being conducted every day was increasing, he said.
"Yesterday around the country, at least 100 tests were being done, but all our tests yesterday were negative.
"At the moment our labs can do over 500 tests in a day if they have to, and that capacity can be scaled up if needs be."
This afternoon, US President Donald Trump said the United States will suspend all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days because of the coronavirus.
- If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs)
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