As Covid-19 spreads around the world, it can be daunting keeping up with the information. For RNZ, our responsibility is to give you verified, up to the minute, trustworthy information to help you make decisions about your lives and your health. We'll also be asking questions of officials and decision makers about how they're responding to the virus. Our aim is to keep you informed.
Today the global death toll from Covid-19 passed 100,000, and the third and fourth deaths related to the virus in New Zealand were announced.
New Zealand is in its 17th day of full level 4 lockdown. Another 29 cases were announced (20 confirmed and nine probable), bringing the total to 1312.
Recoveries now total 422 people, but of the active positive cases 15 people are in hospital, including five in ICU.
Speaking at the daily briefing, Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said a man in his 80s had died at Wellington Regional Hospital, and a man in his 70s from Rosewood Rest Home died at Burwood Hospital in Christchurch (the second man from the rest home to die of Covid-19).
Both were part of a cluster - a group of more than 10 cases traced back to a common place.
Clusters and notable cases
There are now 13 significant clusters throughout the country. The biggest two clusters now have 85 cases each - Marist College in Auckland and a wedding in Bluff.
Those clusters that had not been named before are the George Manning Lifecare and Village in Christchurch, a Spectrum facility in Auckland that provides day care for people with intellectual disabilities, and a private party that was held in Auckland.
Health officials say there is a high level of concern about the cluster at Burwood Hospital, from Rosewood Rest Home, which currently includes 30 people who have the virus. And they warn and there could be more serious illness or deaths in the group.
Another separate group of 20 from Rosewood who did not go to Burwood Hospital have all tested negative and are not showing any symptoms.
Health officials say a Flaxmere supermarket worker who has tested positive is thought to have caught the virus outside the Hawke's Bay region. They worked two shifts at Flaxmere New World before they were symptomatic, on the 3rd and 4th of April, and anyone who shopped there on those days is advised to call Healthline.
Close contacts of the worker have been isolated.
Global fatalities pass 100,000
The global coronavirus pandemic has reached a grim landmark - 100,000 deaths.
There are almost 1.7 million registered cases of the virus, which has spread to almost every country of the world.
The United States now has the largest number of cases - almost 500,000, and closely trails Italy with the highest number of fatalities - both have confirmed more than 18,500.
The number of deaths has been accelerating at a daily rate of between 6 and 10 percent during the past week.
Some countries, including Italy, France, Algeria, the Netherlands, Spain and Britain are reporting that more than 10 percent of all confirmed cases have been fatal.
One of the largest studies of the fatality of the disease, involving 44,000 patients in China, put the rate at about 2.9 percent.
Calls continue for PPE for care workers
McElnay said New Zealand has enough personal protective equipment (PPE), and it was being moved around the country to places where it was most needed.
However the union representing home support care workers says its members are still struggling to get masks or gloves, and the government must make it available urgently.
Care workers working within one metre of clients were previously promised PPE by the Ministry of Health.
Public Service Association national secretary Melissa Woolley said some DHBs were relying on outdated information from the Ministry about who should be allocated PPE, and as a result not enough masks were being released to community providers.
Healthcare workers on casual contracts say they have no support
RNZ has been told healthcare workers are worried about keeping a roof over their head, after finding they fall through the gaps of government support during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Government-funded organisations are excluded from wage-subsidy payments, even in cases where their hours have been slashed, and some say Work and Income also will not help.
Claire* (name withheld by RNZ) is supporting her daughter and grandson with her casual healthcare job, but has had her hours cut by more than half.
She pays a friend so they can live in two bedrooms at her house, and has had to ask for a significant rent reduction, but does not know how long her small savings can keep them afloat.
New Zealand cruise ship passengers homeward bound from Uruguay
A group of 16 New Zealanders, who were stranded on the Greg Mortimer cruise ship, are on their way home after they left Uruguay today on a chartered medical flight to Melbourne this evening. They will then be transferred to a flight back to New Zealand.
More than half of the 217 passengers who were on board the ship have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus.
In late March there were 372 New Zealanders still on board 30 cruise ships throughout the world, but early this week that number fell to 58, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.
NZ troops home from fighting Islamic State to return to their families
New Zealand's last contingent of troops that contributed to the US-led coalition efforts against Islamic State have begun returning to their families.
The first of two groups to fly back into the country have finished their two weeks self-isolation at Whenuapai airbase in Auckland, and were able to leave the base today to head home from Whenuapai.
The two groups were stationed at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, for more than five months, and trained Iraqi security forces. The second group of troops from Iraq will finish their self-isolation period in a week.
Lockdown stalls Southern Response appeal against class action
A Supreme Court hearing for Southern Response, set down for 23 and 24 May has been adjourned, because of the nationwide lockdown and Covid-19 crisis.
The Crown-owned organisation was set up to deal with claims from the Canterbury Earthquakes after insurance company AMI failed. It was previously found to have acted deceptively and misleadingly in not providing full information about the calculated cost of home repairs.
The Court of Appeal has allowed a class action to proceed against the organisation on an opt out basis - which is likely to mean more people join the action.
A lawyer for the class action has said the case could cost the company more than $400 million.