New Zealand

New Zealand moves to COVID-19 alert level 1 from midnight

Things will be just about back to normal for Kiwis after the move to level 1, with social distancing no longer required and no more limits on gatherings - but the border will remain closed to non-New Zealanders.

Hospitality providers will no longer have to ensure guests are seated and only served by one waiter, and night clubs will be able to fully open, with the Government hoping to control any potential future outbreaks with contact tracing.

Strong 5.8 magnitude quake in NZ

The 5.8 quake was centred 30km north-west of Levin, GeoNet said, and was 37km deep. GeoNet had initially assessed the quake as 5.9.

More than 36,000 people, from the Far North to Dunedin, reported feeling the quake.

Trains in the Greater Wellington region are suspended while crews are doing the visual inspection of the full rail network. MetLink said this would cause significant delays this morning at least.

Buses and trains were being held at their nearest station.

There have been no immediate reports of damage.

New Zealand eases lockdown

The country says it has stopped community transmission of Covid-19, effectively eliminating the virus.

Lowering its alert level from four to three means that some non-essential business, healthcare and schools were able to resume this morning.

Around 400,000 people headed back to work, some schools and childcare facilities are open, and people are allowed to get takeout food again.

New Zealand, partly thanks to its isolation and easily-closed borders, managed to contain the virus early on.

Quarantine or 'managed isolation' compulsory for all arrivals into NZ, PM says

Jacinda Ardern said the new arrivals will need to go into either quarantine or "managed isolation" at an approved facility for a minimum of 14 days.

"Our borders are our biggest risk," she said.

She said even one person slipping through the cracks and bringing the virus in could see an explosion of cases.

Ardern said everyone arriving will go into a managed facility that is provided by the government."

She said the tighter controls could not have been done in the beginning but "we can and are now".

Managed transit allows stranded New Zealand travellers to get home

“There are millions of people around the world stranded by COVID-19 and we are continuing to do our part to help them get home,” Mr Peters said. “Accordingly, Cabinet agreed yesterday that New Zealand would seek reciprocal transit arrangements with a number of countries to enable our citizens to transit each other’s airports.

“One barrier to New Zealanders getting home at present is the transit restrictions imposed by a number of countries. We continue to seek assistance from these countries to enable New Zealanders to transit through their airports in order to come home.

New Zealand Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID

Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will:

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.