16 Mar 2020

No new cases of coronavirus in NZ - health officials

1:58 pm on 16 March 2020

The Ministry of Health says there have been no further confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today.

Watch the latest media conference here:

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there were still eight confirmed and two probable cases.

Dr Bloomfield said a man in his 60s, who was visiting from Australia and became New Zealand's seventh case, was now symptom-free but was still in self-isolation. His two family members were well.

A woman in her 30s from Denmark - New Zealand's eighth case - was in hospital in Queenstown for a night but had since been discharged and was being monitored and recovering in self-isolation.

He also confirmed the suspected case of coronavirus on the Golden Princess cruise ship had tested negative and the ship hasdleft New Zealand.

Both of the latest cases occurred before the new travel restrictions came into force. Dr Bloomfield said "several thousand" had already gone into self-isolation since the 1am deadline.

"But I can also say that in Auckland, usually on a Monday morning, there would be around 2400 people (arriving) and this morning it was 1000. So there has already been a significant reduction in the number of people arriving."

Contact tracing on all the flights from the latest two cases had changed and close contacts - people sitting in two seats in all directions from the two people infected - would be contacted and asked to self-isolate for 14 days, Dr Bloomfield said.

Public health staff will get in touch with those people and Dr Bloomfield said Healthline knew all the relevant seat numbers and would be able to advise if people were a close contact or not.

Dr Bloomfield said the Healthline service received 4500 calls yesterday.

Fifty new nurses had been brought into help with the huge increase in calls to Healthline since border restrictions were put into place.

From 1am this morning every traveller who landed in New Zealand, except for some from the Pacific Islands, was being told to self-isolate for two weeks.

Dr Bloomfield said the Ministry of Health was considering fines for people who did not self isolate if required to because of Covid-19.

  • 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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