New Zealand reports no new COVID-19 cases for first time since epidemic began

The vast majority of these cases have recovered — 1276 — with the number of active cases falling below 200 for the first time in 40 days.

To date, 20 people have died from COVID-19 in New Zealand, more than half of whom were residents of Rosewood Rest Home and Hospital in Christchurch.

Bloomfield said Monday’s figures were encouraging, but the key test would come later in the week when any new cases since the country moved to Level 3 would become symptomatic.

Bloomfield has been asked about whether the country should be moving out of Alert Level 3 sooner.

“The important thing here is that we are still wanting to be sure there is no undetected community transmission,” he said.


“Now is the time to just maintain that vigilance right across the country and as we move into alert level 2, that’s when there may be a case for some regional differentiation,” Bloomfield said.

Restricting interaction to our bubbles, practising good hand hygiene and for sick people to remain at home continued to be the main key messages for the public.

“We may still see cases emerging later this week and there’s no guarantee they won’t emerge even in those regions that don’t have a case,” Bloomfield said.

On the potential establishment of a trans-Tasman travel bubble, Bloomfield said the Ministry of Health was in “constant dialogue” with his Australian counterparts over what the “key public health pillars” would be needed should this concept being given the green light.


These pillars would include how both countries were testing, isolating cases, a common position around contact tracing and the “ability to exchange information smoothly”.

“My sense is, if I reflect how closely we have worked together over the last three months, right from the early days and trying to go very much in tandem with the range of moves whether it was around the border, in case definitions and sharing of information.

“I’m confident we could continue that to support a trans-Tasman bubble arrangement if that’s what the governments agree,” Bloomfield said.

When asked whether the resumption of domestic flights, or the reopening of retail stores and bars caused him the biggest concern, Bloomfield instead said people relaxing their attitudes to physical distancing and hygiene at level 2 would be more of a worry.

On the influenza vaccine, Bloomfield said more than 1.3 million doses have been distributed thus far – a national record – and said there was a very low level of flu in the community.

On breaches, the country was nearly there, but Bloomfield reminded people not to “slacken off now”.

Asked whether people who hosted gatherings over the weekend had “jeopardised” the country’s chances of moving to level 2, Bloomfield said: “I hope not”.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will spend part of her morning with Australian leaders, dialling into the National Cabinet with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, state premiers and territory chief ministers.

Australia and New Zealand have taken slightly different approaches to reducing the spread of COVID-19 but have enjoyed similar success., AAP

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