10 May 2020

Covid-19: What happened in New Zealand and around the world on 9 May

6:20 am on 10 May 2020

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.

New Zealand reported two new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, but despite the recent lower figures, a newly-released official document says the country could remain in alert levels 2 and 3 for years.

CHT St Margarets residential aged care facility in Auckland has been identified as the rest home linked to 15 cases of Covid-19.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Today's new cases included one confirmed and one probable case, both linked to the St Margaret's Hospital & Rest Home cluster in Auckland.

The confirmed case was a household contact of a previous case linked to the cluster, while the probable case was a nurse employed by Waitemata District Health Board.

The nurse had been caring for St Margaret's patients at Waitakere Hospital and was among the close contacts of other positive cases.

No further deaths were reported, so the death toll remains at 21.

As the country prepared for a potential move to alert level 2 next week, a Cabinet paper released yesterday said New Zealand could remain at levels 2 and 3 for "a moderate amount of time".

The paper - dated 15 April - noted that if the country needed to move between the levels for one to two years, rules could be changed to fit different circumstances.

However, the paper said the meaning of alert level 4 should not change.

It stated alert level 4 was the government's most serious response and people needed to know immediately what it meant if the country needed to move to it again in future.

  • 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 - don't show up at a medical centre

Samoa approves Air New Zealand flights

Low fog delays and cancels flights at Wellington Airport Tues 21st Jan 2020.

Photo: RNZ / Patrice Allen

Further abroad, the Samoan government has approved four Air New Zealand flights into the country for those wishing to return home.

More than 900 people wanted to return to Samoa, either because they were stranded or because their New Zealand permits had expired, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said.

Anyone who wanted to return to Samoa would have to have a Covid-19 test before they left, and would be quarantined on arrival.

French repatriation plane flies sick baby to Auckland

A baby is flown on a special French military flight  from French Polynesia to New Zealand for urgent surgery.

A baby is flown on a special French military flight from French Polynesia to New Zealand for urgent surgery. Photo: Supplied

A three-month-old baby was flown from French Polynesia to Auckland for urgent surgery.

The plane, organised by the French military, carried a medical team with the patient and their parents and returned to Tahiti after three hours in Auckland.

The cargo plane, which has been deployed by Paris to Tahiti for a month, was sent by the French High Commission.

Earlier this week, the same A400M picked up 20 French Polynesian residents who had been stranded in New Zealand since March because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Pilots ask for tax relief to help those who have lost jobs

Pilots made redundant in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak say the government needs to consider tax relief for many like them who cannot access the wage subsidy nor the benefit, in a market where there's fewer jobs and higher unemployment.

Kit Alexander lost his job with Virgin Australia, which closed its New Zealand bases at the start of April, wiping out around 600 jobs.

With a mortgage and bills to pay, he is currently delivering pizzas but says he is "lucky" compared to some others.

Like more than 5000 others he has signed a petition asking the government to stop taxing redundancy payments during the pandemic. The rate can be as high as 33 percent. The petition is due to be presented to Parliament this week.

Australia's biggest states hold off relaxing Covid-19 lockdowns

A few people walk along Circular Quay outside the Opera House in Sydney on March 25, 2020, as people stay away due to restrictions to stop the spread of the worldwide COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Photo: AFP

Australia's most populous states held back from easing Covid-19 restrictions, despite other states allowing small gatherings and preparing to open restaurants.

The country's total deaths from Covid-19 remained at just below 100.

The nation's capital, Canberra, and some states allowed people to start visiting each other today, with indoor and outdoor gatherings, including weddings, of up to 10 people allowed.

In South Australia, outdoor dining at restaurants and cafes will be allowed from Monday for up to 10 people, and in the Northern Territory, pubs, bars and restaurants will reopen next Friday.

However the states of New South Wales and Victoria, which make up more than half the country's population and nearly two-thirds of the country's Covid-19 cases, plan to outline plans for easing business restrictions only next week.

- Reuters

Top White House aide tests positive for coronavirus

In the United States, a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence tested positive for Covid-19 one day after another White House staff member was diagnosed with the virus.

Pence's press secretary Katie Miller tested positive on Friday, a day after President Donald Trump's valet.

The White House began daily testing for Pence and Trump and claimed to be taking "every single precaution to protect the president".

The US death toll reached over 77,000 and states are beginning to reopen.


WHO still investigating virus origin

Coronavirus disease cells, 3D rendering. new 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection outbreak occurs from Wuhan, China

Photo: 123rf.com

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has rejected Trump's claims that Covid-19 originated in a Chinese laboratory - but said it could take at least a year to determine its exact origins.

According to the WHO, evidence of the origin pointed to a wet market in the city of Wuhan, but only 65 percent of early cases were directly connected to it.

Airlines in the United Kingdom said they had been informed by government that a 14-day quarantine would be introduced for anyone arriving in the UK from any country apart from the Republic of Ireland.

Those arriving in the country would be required to self-isolate at a private residence.

The new restriction was expected to take effect at the end of May, but it was not clear how long the new travel restriction would be in place and whether non-UK residents would be allowed to stay in rented private accommodation.


Roy Horn, of Siegfried & Roy dies of coronavirus

Roy Horn (right) has died at age 75 after contracting coronavirus.

Roy Horn (right) has died at age 75 after contracting coronavirus. Photo: 2008 Getty Images

Roy Horn, one half of the longtime Las Vegas illusionist duo Siegfried & Roy, died aged 75 after he contracted coronavirus several weeks ago.

His publicist released a statement confirming the magician's death, saying he died in a Las Vegas hospital.

His partner Siegfried Fischbacher paid tribute to Roy, saying "he was a fighter his whole life including during those final days".

"Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend," Siegfried said.

"From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world.

"There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried."


Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus:

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs