13 Apr 2020

Covid-19: What happened on Easter Monday

7:42 pm on 13 April 2020

On a day that a fifth person died from Covid-19 in New Zealand, a Southland nurse gained international attention for her outstanding care of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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Clockwise from left: Tim Brooke-Taylor, Jenny McGee, Pope Francis and Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Getty Images / NZ Herald / AFP / Getty Images

The latest victim was a man is his 80s, who was being cared for at Burwood Hospital after being transferred from the Rosewood Rest Home in Christchurch, which has been the site of a cluster of 33 Covid-19 cases.

Nineteen new cases were added to the country's tally today - meaning a total of 1349 cases since the pandemic was first identified in New Zealand.

Police have confirmed they will be prosecuting 64 people for being in breach of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act or the Health Act over Easter.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern signalled there will be some significant announcements over the next four days, including a report from Treasury on how Covid-19 is affecting the economy and unemployment.

On Thursday she will announce what alert level 3 will look like, but she once again ruled out any early end to the current lockdown, which is due to finish on 22 April.

The government also announced it will bring home New Zealanders from India, and all Kiwis there are being told to consider booking the flights being organised.

Fifth New Zealander dies from Covid-19

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 12: Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament on April 12, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield Photo: Getty Images

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said at the daily briefing for media that the fifth victim was a man in his 80s, who was being cared for at Burwood Hospital after being transferred from Rosewood Rest Home.

"We know that because of the underlying vulnerabilities of this group we need to be prepared for further illness and possible death."

He said 13 of the 33 in the cluster were residents and 18 are staff.

Dr Bloomfield said there are now 15 clusters around the country, with two new clusters identified in Auckland and Christchurch.

He said 546 people have recovered and there have now been a total of 1349 cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

Fifteen people are in hospital, with four in ICU. One person is in a critical condition in Dunedin.

Police catch people breaching lockdown during Easter

Police say there have been more than 1200 breaches of lockdown rules since level 4 restrictions began.

Over the Easter weekend, 622 people breached the rules. Most were let off with a warning, but 64 will be prosecuted.

Police carried out over 500 road checkpoints over the long weekend and a "small number of travellers" were made to turn around.

Police Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers says it's important people don't get complacent.

He says now is the time to double down to make sure we get through the lockdown as quickly as we can.

Police checkpoint on SH1 in Warkworth, north of Auckland

A police checkpoint on SH1 in Warkworth, north of Auckland over the Easter period. Photo: RNZ / Matthew Theunissen

Invercargill nurse 'overwhelmed by attention'

The Invercargill-born nurse credited by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for saving his life after he was struck down with Covid-19 is "overwhelmed" by the international response.

Jenny McGee, 35, was born and raised in Invercargill and has been living and working in London for some time.

She currently works in the intensive care department at St Thomas' Hospital in the city and was singled out by Johnson on the same day he was released from hospital.

Her brother Rob McGee spoke to the NZ Herald about her work today.

He said he and parents Mike and Caroline McGee were all stunned by Johnson's personal thanks and the international attention.

More information coming for businesses

The prime minister says further details will be shared this week on how the lockdown is hitting businesses and jobs and the plan for moving out of the lockdown.

"I understand the importance of this information for businesses and industries to plan."

Ardern said there was no end date yet for stopping the strict border controls in place.

If the virus was eliminated here, overseas travellers coming here would then pose the greatest risk to New Zealand, she said.

"We can have no tolerance for someone potentially bringing in Covid-19 and causing a chain of events that may be devastating."

She said when New Zealand moves to alert level 3 there will still be significant restrictions.

"We should consider it a waiting room, a place we move to which allows a bit more activity to occur but not so much that we risk losing all the gains we have made."

Ardern said the government will be setting out details for each of the alert levels this week.

Mercy flights on the horizon for Kiwis stranded in India

Winston Peters announcing the $12.1 billion economic relief package.

Winston Peters Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters says there are a "large number" of New Zealanders in India and they are being asked to consider using the flights to return home.

India banned international flights on 22 March, and the country has been in lockdown since 25 March, leaving New Zealanders with no flight options.

"The government is in discussion with airlines and international partners to help those New Zealanders stranded in India return home.

"This is a seriously complex endeavour due to the current lockdown and the large number of New Zealanders in various locations around India. However, we are making very good progress."

Meanwhile, a flight is due to leave Lima, in Peru, tomorrow with stranded New Zealanders and Australians on board.

British comedy star dies from Covid-19

Comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor has died from coronavirus at the age of 79, his agent has confirmed to the BBC.

The entertainer, best known as one third of the popular 1970s show The Goodies and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, died on Sunday.

Goodies co-star Bill Oddie called him a "true visual comic and a great friend".

The third member of the trio, Graeme Garden, said he was "terribly saddened by the loss of a dear colleague and close friend of over 50 years".

A host of comedians have paid tribute to Brooke-Taylor on social media.

Death toll nears 110,000 worldwide

More than 1.7 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel Covid-19 coronavirus globally and 108,252 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

The United States surpassed Italy on Saturday as the country with the highest reported coronavirus death toll, recording more than 20,000 deaths since the outbreak began.

Chinese cities near the border with Russia said they would tighten border controls and quarantine measures on arrivals from abroad after the number of imported cases of Covid-19 hit a record high.

Pope Francis called for global solidarity in fighting the pandemic and its economic fallout, urging the relaxation of international sanctions, debt relief for poor nations and ceasefires in all conflicts.

Pope Francis gathers his thoughts during Easter Sunday Mass on April 12, 2020 behind closed doors at St. Peter's Basilica in The Vatican.

Pope Francis gathers his thoughts during Easter Sunday Mass behind closed doors at St Peter's Basilica in The Vatican. Photo: AFP

Call for people reporting a loss of smell to be tested

A researcher at Otago University says people should be tested for Covid-19 even if the loss of sense of smell - anosmia - is their only symptom.

Anosmia has been added to the case definition for Covid-19, but people will only be tested if it is accompanied by acute respiratory illness.

However, Dr Mei Peng, a researcher of the sense of smell at the University of Otago, said it should be tested in the absence of other symptoms.

She is part of a project with more than 300 researchers across more than 20 countries who are gathering standardised observational data about how and when the sensory changes happen.

Otago University senior lecturer Dr Mei Peng

Dr Mei Peng who is working on an international research project on the significance of losing a sense of smell due to Covid-19. Photo: Supplied / Mei Peng

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