New Zealand

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.

10 people accused over importing over a tonne of drugs into New Zealand

Up to five million dollars' worth of drugs was seized in a major operation targeting the importation of methamphetamine and other drugs into New Zealand.

A New Zealand man has allegedly been operating overseas since 2016, sending drugs to associates back here via multiple countries and using a variety of ways to conceal the drugs.

He was arrested at the border in Italy on February 2.

Police have also arrested six of his alleged associates living in New Zealand after search warrants were carried out throughout the wider Auckland region last week.

PNG in contact with remaining students in China

PNG High Commissioner to New Zealand, Francis Agwi, also said he was informed by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs that no one at the isolation facility in Whangaparoa, including the 17 PNG students who were evacuated out of Wuhan by the New Zealand government, has shown any signs of infection, nor been tested positive for Novel Coronavirus.

The department also said Kundu Beijing is very much aware of the dire situation that other students are in, as prices of food, water, medical fees, electricity and masks have dramatically increased since the virus outbreak. 

New Zealand to help Pacific neighbours evacuate

New Zealand imposed a two-week travel ban on arrivals from and through China on Monday and also warns its citizens to leave China fast.

Australia, the United States and seven other countries including Fiji, Russia, Japan and Indonesia, have also imposed entry restrictions on people from China, in an effort to limit contagion of the coronavirus from its source in Wuhan.

New Zealand's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said preparations for the evacuation were well under way.

New Zealand 'has responsibility to protect Pacific from coronavirus'

The death toll from the coronavirus sweeping through China has increased to 17 to six and more than 500 people are confirmed to have the illness, which began in Wuhan.

Health authorities say the current risk to New Zealand is low.

But Otago University's Michael Baker says the virus has already spread to several other countries, and monitoring and preparation has to be stepped up. 

He says the recent spread of the measles to the Pacific highlights the obligation New Zealand has to the region.

Australia claim series win

New Zealand wilted in the Melbourne heat at the MCG, where Australia wrapped up a crushing 247-run win on day four of the second Test on Sunday.

Blundell rallied for the Black Caps, celebrating his second Test hundred in three matches with a resilient 121 runs, but he had no support from his team-mates after Nathan Lyon (4-81) and James Pattinson (3-35) starred.

Marnus Labuschagne (1-11) ended Blundell's unforgettable innings late in the evening as Australia only required nine wickets to skittle New Zealand for 240 – Trent Boult not batting due to a fractured finger.