Coronavirus: No new COVID-19 cases in New Zealand for fifth day in a row

There are no new COVID-19 coronavirus cases in New Zealand for the fifth day in a row, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.

The ministry's director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the number of confirmed cases is five and there are no current probable cases.

"Our case numbers, therefore, remained unchanged. As you know there have been five confirmed cases and the two probable cases. And the two probable cases that required hospital care are now both at home."

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on Thursday by the World Health Organization (WHO) after they were "deeply concerned" by the spread and severity of the outbreak, as well as the "alarming levels" of inaction.

Dr Bloomfield says the declaration of a pandemic doesn't change New Zealand's approach to the disease.

"Nothing changes in terms of what we do. We have been acting and planning as if this would be a pandemic for some weeks now, and we continue to plan and respond with pace."

WHO's director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the word "pandemic" isn't a word the organisation uses lightly and it doesn't change their assessment of the threat of COVID-19. He maintains it can be controlled if the right measures are put into place.

"It doesn't change what WHO is doing, and it doesn't change what countries should do," Ghebreyesus said.

WHO previously called COVID-19 a global health emergency.