Coronavirus: No new cases for New Zealand

There are no new confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand for the sixth consecutive day.

New Zealand has had five confirmed cases and two probable cases of the novel coronavirus. Two patients who were hospitalised - one confirmed and one probable - have been discharged and are recovering at home with daily checkups.

All 252 self-isolated close contacts of the confirmed cases are being monitored daily by health staff.

The Ministry of Health reiterates that Government agencies have been planning for a pandemic, which was officially declared by the World Health Organisation earlier this week, for some time. 

"I'd like to remind people to ring Healthline on the dedicated COVID-19 number, 0800 358 5453, or ring ahead to their general practice if they are feeling unwell and they'll be advised what to do," Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said in a statement.

Planning is underway for scaling up the country's ability to contact trace those exposed to infected individuals. These measures are crucial to limiting the risk of widespread transmission.

Aged Care facilities, which care for the oldest and most vulnerable New Zealanders, have been advised to warn friends and relatives to postpone their visit if they are sick with coughs, colds or flu.

"Our key advice, which is fundamental to our response, is not putting yourself or others at risk if you are unwell. This means not going to work or going to places where there are other people if you are sick," Dr Bloomfield said.

"All of us have a role to play in stopping further spread. I need to emphasise how critical this is as New Zealand responds to COVID-19. This is particularly important for concerts and other large gatherings we have coming up, including this weekend. 

"Please stay home if you're unwell."