26 Apr 2020

Covid 19: What happened in New Zealand on 26 April

8:20 pm on 26 April 2020

An extra $107.6 million to help house the vulnerable both during and after the pandemic was announced today, there were nine new cases of Covid-19 and hopes that reopening garden centres will improve mental health.

Hospitals set up in preparation for Covid-19

Photo: Ministry of Health / Supplied

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.

In a written statement the Ministry of Health revealed another nine cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus were identified in New Zealand today, and no new deaths.

The new cases include four confirmed and five probable cases, bringing the country's total cases to 1470.

Four of the new cases were linked to New Zealand's 16 clusters, and the others were all linked to other known infections.

There were 5966 tests completed yesterday.

Another 24 people were said to have recovered, bringing New Zealand's total recoveries to 1142.

In the statement, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said that although it was encouraging to have another day of single digit cases, vigilance remained crucial.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP

Govt announces more than $100m for housing homeless

Housing Minister Megan Woods today announced an extra $107.6 million to help vulnerable people in need of housing, saying it would help them both during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some $31 million of the new funding would be spent on services to support those people's needs.

"People living rough or in accommodation where social distancing was not possible were especially vulnerable to Covid-19," she said.

"As of this weekend 876 units have vulnerable individuals and whānau living in them and they are being supported with social services."

She said more than 1100 additional motel units had already been secured for people without housing by government agencies, community housing, iwi and Māori providers since the alert levels were put in place.

Dr Woods said the funding would ensure people continued to be housed for the longer term, with 1600 units being funded.

Housing Minister Megan Woods announces changes to the government's KiwiBuild scheme.

Megan Woods said the funding would help the vulnerable with housing both during and after the pandemic. Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

Concerns over lack of physical contact during lockdown - survey

Nearly 80 percent of New Zealanders are concerned about the lack of physical contact they are having with elderly and other relatives outside their bubbles and regions, according to the latest report by Research New Zealand.

Carer giving helping hands for elderly woman.

Photo: 123RF

The findings are from the organisation's fifth weekly survey on the impact the Covid-19 virus is having on New Zealanders' lives.

The research was conducted online, using a representative sample of New Zealanders aged over 18, with concern questions measured on a scale.

Research NZ managing partner Emanuel Kalafatelis said researchers found what they expected to find.

"Around 40 percent have struggled with the idea of staying in their bubble and we thought this week we'd look at that from a slightly different perspective - we asked about lack of physical contact with elderly relatives and relatives outside of their area," he said.

The results showed that 78 percent of respondents were concerned for elderly relatives and other relatives in different parts of the country.

Getting ready to move to level 3

Business owners, particularly in hospitality, are being advised to flush their water systems and check for pests before reopening this week. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has listed a series of safety and hygiene checks for hospitality businesses.

14381065 - white daisy potted flower at garden center retail store

Garden centres will be able to reopen at alert level 3, although with contactless service. Photo: 123RF

A survey of early childhood centres found that one third of them will remain closed at alert level 3. The Early Childhood Council said 55 percent of its members said they would open to support parents returning to work, 33 percent said they would not open and 12 percent were still unsure.

People's mental health will benefit from garden centres reopening on Tuesday, when the country moves to alert level 3, Gardening New Zealand says. The return to alert level 3 means garden centres are able to reopen, although only with contactless service.

But the police warn that we're not there yet and urge people to stick with the lockdown level 4 rules for another day.

What's been happening overseas?

* The global death toll from the Covid-19 coronavirus passed 200,000 with confirmed cases expected to reach 3 million in coming days. More than half of the fatalities have been reported by the United States, Spain and Italy. Britain became the fifth country with a Covid-19 death toll over 20,000, in what Home Secretary Priti Patel called "a tragic and terrible milestone" as she urged people to stay at home. - Reuters

* UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced he will return to work tomorrow after recovering from coronavirus. - Reuters

* US President Donald Trump ditched his daily Covid-19 press conference, amid the furore over his suggestion two days ago that Covid-19 patents should be treated with disinfectant. Trump later suggested he was being sarcastic, however, media reports say White House aides are encouraging him to step back from hosting the briefings because they are harming his re-election chances. There are also US media reports suggesting the White House may sack its secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, because of what it says was early mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. - Reuters

* French Polynesia's health minister Jacques Raynal says testing results show that the circulation of Covid-19 has been stopped. Reynal said the last flight with travellers who had not been tested arrived on 28 March and enough time had elapsed to consider that the circulation of the virus had been brought to a halt.

Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus:

  • Covid-19: Nine more cases, no new deaths
  • As it happened: Covid-19 updates from NZ and around the world on 26 April
  • Government announces $100m for housing homeless
  • NZ's responses to Covid-19 and polio vastly different