2 May 2020

Covid-19: What happened in NZ on 2 May

8:37 pm on 2 May 2020

A resident of the Rosewood Rest Home in Christchurch - described as "a real Kiwi bloke" by his family - has died of Covid-19, increasing the country's total of deaths to 20.

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Top from left: there is praise for Burwood Hospital staff; more people are using Lotto online; the Warriors are heading to Australia and Education Minister Chris Hipkins has some help for students. Photo: Supplied / RNZ/Richard Tindiller / Photosport / Getty Images

There are also six new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed and probable cases to 1485, the Ministry of Health said in a statement. Two of the new cases are confirmed while four are probable.

So far, 1263 people have recovered - that's 85 percent of the total cases. Five people remain in hospital.

The man who died was George Hollings who was in his 80s. His family have said they would remember him "as a rough diamond, who loved his deer stalking".

The ministry has said he was considered to be a probable case of Covid-19, and had underlying health conditions.

The family paid tribute to the Burwood Hospital staff who took care of him.

"We can't speak highly enough of the care Dad received. You've clearly chosen the best, most compassionate staff to work at Burwood," they said in a statement.

There are still 16 significant clusters in the country, three of which are now considered to be closed as there is no longer any apparent transmission of the virus in those groups.

Woman's dying wish granted

Gail Baker's dying wish has been granted, with her sister set to travel to Australia from New Zealand to care for her in her final days.

The news comes after her sister, Christine Archer, had four previous applications to the Australian Department of Home Affairs rejected.

After a fall in her Bowraville home on the New South Wales Mid North Coast in March, Baker was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer and told she has just weeks or months to live.

She said she was extremely relieved her sister, a retired nurse, could travel and be with her.

"It's something to stay alive for and stay well. I'm hanging on for the day that that we can get together and have an good old chinwag."

Archer said being able to travel to Australia to be with her sister was a huge relief. The sisters have not seen each other for six years.


Government announces more money to help students

A $20 million fund has been announced to help tertiary students access digital devices and the internet to continue learning during Covid-19 disruptions.

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said the government wanted to ensure students had the right support for distance learning.

"Now we have set up a fund that tertiary education organisations can access including Wānanga, the NZIST [the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology] and its subsidiaries, universities, transitional industry training organisations and private training establishments," Hipkins said in a statement.

"Tertiary providers are best placed to work with their learners to identify those who are most in need during this time. Learners should contact their tertiary provider to discuss what kind of support they require."

The $20m would pay for about 18,500 learners to be connected to the internet and get a device, but more learners will benefit if they only needed one or the other, he said.

The NZIST will distribute funding to its 16 subsidiaries.

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A new fund will help students adjust from the lecture hall to online learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Photo / 123RF

Extra freight flights

Another 50 flights of air freight have been added each week to lift the volume of goods going in and out of the country.

The additional services add about 50 percent capacity to the number of flights already operating each week. But the new total of 146 is still far lower than pre-Covid levels.

The government says the new flights will strengthen the supply of critical imports such as medical supplies, and the export of high value goods.

It is subsidising the costs of these flights, but only partially. Six airlines are involved in the additional flights, which connect to Australia, the Pacific Islands, Asia and the US.

They are: Air New Zealand, China Airlines, Emirates, Freightways Express, Qantas and Tasman Cargo. It's expected other carriers will be announced shortly.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said the flights provided by the $330 million short-term International Air Freight Capacity Scheme help maintain New Zealand's trade links with key global markets, and are vital to the country's recovery from the economic effects of the pandemic.

Dubai, UAE - Dec 9, 2018. A Boeing 777-300ER airplane of Emirates taking-off from Dubai Airport (DXB). DXB is the third-busiest airport in the world.

Emirates is one of six airlines chosen to carry more freight to Australia, the Pacific Islands, Asia and the US. Photo: 123RF

Worry over increase in online gambling

The Problem Gambling Foundation is concerned by a rise in people using online Lotto and gambling sites during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Physical premises have been shut to customers, but gamblers can still access services from computers, mobile phones and tablets.

Lotto sales have been reduced to about 60 percent of normal sales, because of the store closures, Lotto New Zealand said.

However, about 125,000 customers had registered with MyLotto online, which had resulted in more than twice the normal online sales.

Casino operator SkyCity said it now has more than 15,000 registered users on its website.

Problem Gambling Foundation chairman Richard Northey said online gambling was dangerously accessible.

"If they're at home they can access [it] straight away, particularly among younger people, who in the lockdown are looking for other recreational opportunities."

Northey said international gambling sites were particularly bad as they did not show any responsibility.

The foundation has had to close all clinics during the lockdown, but counselling is still being offered by phone and video calls.

Online gambling is instantly available at the press of a button.

The Problem Gambling Foundation is especially worried about international gambling sites. Photo: 123rf

Green light for Warriors

The Warriors will travel across the Tasman tomorrow afternoon, after the National Rugby League received final approvals for the club to fly into Australia to isolate, train and play.

The Warriors will enter 14 days' isolation in Tamworth, New South Wales where they will be permitted to train, in the lead-up to the resumption of the NRL season on 28 May.

"As a club we're both relieved and excited that our requests have now been taken care of to our satisfaction," Warriors CEO Cameron George said.

The Warriors are still working with the NRL to seek exemption for families to join the players in Australia.

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