Coronavirus: Number of New Zealanders who have recovered from COVID-19 rises to 12

A total of 12 Kiwis have recovered from COVID-19 since the first case was recorded in New Zealand on February 28.

The update comes as the Ministry of Health revealed a further 40 people have the disease.

Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed on Tuesday afternoon it brings the total number of cases in New Zealand to 155.

"There are 12 cases that we can confirm are recovered. We will be updating this number on a daily basis," he said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said how many recoveries have been recorded in Aotearoa is a question she is asked "most frequently".

"For some, COVID-19 will be an illness they experience for a time, but we do have an official protocol around declaring individuals who have fully recovered," she said.

"The majority of people who contract COVID-19 do, obviously, recover, and it is essential to the success of our response that as many people as possible are able to recover at home if they are able."

There are six people currently in hospital but they are all in a stable condition, Dr Bloomfield said. None of those patients are in intensive care.

The total number of cases in New Zealand includes 13 'probable' cases which are nonetheless counted as 'confirmed', he said.

"In these [probable] cases, this is a person who has returned a negative laboratory test but the clinician looking after the person has diagnosed them as a probable case due to their exposure history and their clinical symptoms."

A total of four cases are classified as community transmission - three in Auckland and one in Wairarapa. Contact tracing is underway for these.

Dr Bloomfield said around one third of the new cases could be linked to overseas travel or to close contacts of an already confirmed case.

More than 900 lab tests were carried out on Monday, bringing the amount of tests completed to date to more than 8300.

New Zealand in Lockdown

From Wednesday at 11:59pm, New Zealand will be in COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown for at least four weeks in an attempt to minimise the spread of the virus.

It means all non-essential businesses will close, travel is severely limited, schools are shut and people must remain indoors.

"If everyone reduces down their contacts, stays at home, that's one less person that's at risk of picking it up who's less likely to pass it on to three other people and then three other people and then three other people - which is roughly the transmission rate," Ardern told The AM Show on Tuesday.

"So everyone needs to play their part, and please do. It's not just about your life, it's about others'."