Coronavirus: Ministry of Health confirms 58 new COVID-19 cases in New Zealand

There are 48 new confirmed cases and 10 new probable cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

The latest figures were announced by the Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield during a press conference on Tuesday.

The 58 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 brings New Zealand's case total to 647. As of Tuesday, 74 people have recovered from the virus and 14 are hospitalised, including two patients in the ICU in stable conditions. 

"I have no sense that this is a drop [in cases] overall - the number of cases may reflect lower numbers in [testing] on Sunday in particular," Dr Bloomfield said. He believes the reduced number of tests is due to less people going to community-based assessment centres for swabbing and the limited availability of couriers on Sunday.

"[Mathematical] modelling shows that without the actions currently being taken, the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 would exact a high price in New Zealand in terms of its impact on our health services, including our intensive care units, and deaths."

Dr Bloomfield confirmed New Zealand has 533 ventilators with a number in the private sector available for use if required. Additional ventilators have been ordered from overseas and staff training is underway at District Health Boards (DHBs), he added.

"People are congregating in groups in outdoor places... please don't. If you're outdoors, practice physical distancing and don't gather where others are," Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black warned.

Stuart-Black encouraged people to keep their children away from parks, playgrounds and outdoor surfaces such as benches. She also reiterated that New Zealanders need to stop flushing wet wipes down the toilet as it can damage the sewers.

She urged New Zealanders to continue showing compassion and kindess.

"No one catches this virus on purpose... let's all unite together to fight COVID-19."

Death toll remains at one

New Zealand's first virus-related death was announced on Sunday. Greymouth woman Anne Guenole, aged in her 70s, returned a positive test for COVID-19 after initially being diagnosed with influenza, complicated by an underlying health condition.