4 May 2020

Covid-19: What happened on 4 May

7:50 pm on 4 May 2020

For the first time in weeks, there are no new reported cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand. Meanwhile, cases globally have surpassed 3.5 million.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament on May 04, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Photo: 2020 Getty Images

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.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said one probable case had been reclassified as confirmed, which meant the country's total number of cases remained at 1487. There were no additional deaths.

The total cases represent less than 1 percent of the 152,696 tests carried out so far.

While the numbers were encouraging, Dr Bloomfield said the real test would be later this week.

"That's when we will have an indication if there are any new cases coming through that might be emerging in the community as a result of our shift from level 4 to level 3.

Random testing of asymptomatic people would continue this week to help determine if there was any undetected community transmission.

Cabinet discuss what level 2 will look like

Cabinet met today and discussed what alert level 2 would look like. It would reveal those details to the public on Thursday, before meeting on 11 May to assess whether New Zealand was ready to move to level 2.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stressed at her post-Cabinet briefing that no decision had been made yet about moving out of level 3.

She said that as of 6pm yesterday, there had been 593 breaches of Civil Defence Emergency Management Act in level 3, with 154 prosecutions, 400 warnings and 39 youth referrals.

  • 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

Ardern said earlier in the day that a few people were letting the vast majority of the population down.

Describing level 3 as a "waiting room", she urged people to remain vigilant.

"It's very important while we're in this waiting room we don't act like we've won already.

PM to join Australia Cabinet meeting

Ardern has been invited by Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison to join Australia's Cabinet meeting tomorrow via video link to discuss the possibility of a trans-Tasman bubble.

She said a trans-Tasman bubble - which would mean New Zealanders and Australians being confident of being able to travel between the countries without having to quarantine - was still some time off and had not been discussed in an official capacity yet.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 30: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament on April 30, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Photo: Pool / Getty Images

She wouldn't rule out the trans-Tasman travel bubble in level 2, and said the government was focused on a bubble with Australia and not with other Pacific nations for now.

While border restrictions remain in place, there are warnings of a horticultural labour shortage - due to a lack of overseas workers - leading to a food shortage.

Global coronavirus cases surpass 3.5 million

There are now more than 3.5 million reported Covid-19 cases in the world, and almost 250,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

While cases in the United States and European countries are slowing, they still account for most of the new cases reported in recent days, but numbers in Latin America, Africa and Russia are rising. There were 84,004 new cases over the past 24 hours.

US President Donald Trump speaks at the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 21, 2020 in Washington, DC.

US President Donald Trump speaks at the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images / AFP

US President Donald Trump says he now believes as many as 100,000 Americans could die in the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, after the death toll passed his earlier estimates.

Man wins High Court bid to see dying father

A man in mandatory quarantine took the Ministry of Health to court after it refused to let him out to see his dying father - and won.

Oliver Christiansen, who arrived in New Zealand on 23 April, is one of more than 6000 people who have been placed in managed isolation.

He's also one of many who have sought compassionate grounds for an exemption so they can visit dying relatives.

The High Court ruled on Friday that the ministry's decision to deny Christiansen permission was "legally flawed" on more than one basis.

Justice Walker ruled Christiansen could visit his father, who had been given just days to live. He spent 36 hours with his dad, who died on Sunday, before returning to quarantine.

The ministry said it was reviewing its processes for considering requests for leave on compassionate grounds and exceptional reasons, to prevent this issue arising again.

ICU beds, testing, unity and foreign students

In other news, New Zealand has increased its intensive care bed numbers from about 200 in March to 358, and the number of ventilators has risen by almost 100, to 334.

A group of leading scientists have written a report warning the sense of national unity felt during the Covid-19 lockdown may disappear as social isolation and economic costs hit home.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster. Photo: Pool / NZME

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says he's confident police acted lawfully in enforcing the level 4 lockdown. His comments follow a leaked email to New Zealand Herald which revealed Crown Law warned police they had little to no power to enforce the lockdown during the first two weeks of it.

Immigration New Zealand figures show the number of foreign students in the country has fallen sharply in the past six weeks.

Work on Wellington's billion-dollar Transmission Gully project has been drastically curtailed as the completion date is delayed again.

And all students and staff at Auckland's Marist College - which is linked to the country's second-largest Covid-19 cluster - have been asked to get tested for Covid-19.

Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus:

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs