New Zealand

New Zealand goes into lockdown

Earlier today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the country would go into alert level four - and a full national lockdown - in the next 48 hours.

All of Government Controller John Ombler addressed a media conference, along with other key personnel involved in the response.

Ombler said it was clear there would be significant disruption to everyone, "but the alternative would be far worse".

"I'm confident that this all of government leadership is the best way to support the community.

"These are restrictions to save lives."

Director-General of Health announces 14 new Covid-19 cases in NZ

The new cases bring the total to 53 confirmed, and four probable.

The locations of the new cases are; four in Wellington, one in Taranaki, three in Auckland, one in Waikato, one in Taupō, one in Manawatu and two in Nelson.

Three of NZ's confirmed cases are in hospital and all are a stable condition.

One man in his 60s is in Lakes District Hospital in Queenstown, a woman is in hospital in Nelson and another person is in North Shore Hospital.

Eight new cases of coronavirus in NZ, Health Ministry confirms

It brings the total of confirmed cases in New Zealand to 20.

Speaking at the latest media conference, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said there are four new cases in Auckland, one in Christchurch, two in Waikato and one in Invercargill.

Some of the new cases have come from Europe, Australia and the USA.

He said details for each of these cases, including flight information, will be revealed on the Ministry of Health website "in the near future".

Australia v NZ behind closed doors

Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed that fans will not be allowed into grounds to watch the three-match series, which starts on Friday at the SCG.

Ticket-holders will be given a full refund with no decision yet made over Australia's upcoming three-match Twenty20 international tour of New Zealand.

"Cricket Australia will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation at home and overseas before making a decision on Australian men's international matches beyond the Australian leg of the ODI tournament," said a statement.

Third coronavirus case confirmed in New Zealand

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told Morning Report he got a report of a third positive test yesterday evening.

"We're getting all the information together and we'll update everybody at the same time at the update this afternoon," Bloomfield said.

He said the positive Covid-19 result was not of the partner of the Auckland woman who tested positive on Tuesday.

"The swab for the partner of the second case is being processed today, so the positive result we received last night is a different case."

Second case of coronavirus confirmed in New Zealand

The World Health Organisation said on its website that a second New Zealand case had been confirmed.

The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the citizen is a woman in her 30s who had recently returned from a trip to Italy.

The positive test result was formally reported to the ministry at about 6pm yesterday. At that point, health authorities began notifying the woman and her family and started the process of contact tracing.

The woman returned on an Air New Zealand flight NZ0283, from Singapore to Auckland on 25 February.

More NZ tests as authorities prepare for coronavirus

The Ministry of Health said the tests were mainly precautionary and not necessarily suspected cases of coronavirus.

A total of 122 tests have been done across three laboratories In Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

All have returned negative results.

Health officials have urged people to get winter flu vaccines this year. The Ministry of Health said the flu shot would not stop people getting Covid-19, but it would help prevent them getting seriously ill.

PM arrives in NZ for Official Visit

Upon arriving in Auckland from Fiji, PM Marape is scheduled to meet his New Zealand  counterpart, the Rt Hon. Jacinda Ardern, at the Government House.

There, PM Marape and his counterpart will hold a one-on-one prime ministerial discussion, followed by bilateral discussion with the PNG-NZ delegations.

Doctors fear coronavirus will hit NZ at same time as winter flu season

Sarah Dalton, executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, said the so-called "winter surge" was now "the new normal" in many hospitals.

"It's not unusual for our medical wards to be over 100 percent occupancy even outside the winter surge.

"So if we get flu at the same time as Covid-19, that seems like too many things."

Health workers had borne the brunt of the Covid-19 outbreak in China and their experience showed clear protocols and protective equipment were needed now, before the virus arrived, she said.

Surfing legend Kelly Slater to compete in NZ

Slater, 47, holds the record for being both the youngest and oldest World Championin the men's ranks.

He won his first world title in 1992 at the age of 20 and his last was in 2011.

The Piha Pro will be the first time Slater has competed in New Zealand since 1993.

The Piha Pro is one stop on the newly-announced WSL Challenger Series which will see more than 100 surfers chasing qualifying for the elite Championship Tour in 2021.