Coronavirus: New Zealand not flattening the curve during COVID-19 crisis

New Zealand is not yet 'flattening the curve' in terms of daily COVID-19 case rises, the Ministry of Health has revealed.

Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced 89 new cases on Thursday which is the most recorded in a single day.

"I think the 89 cases today shows that [we are not flattening the curve]. I think it's the highest number of single cases we've had in a day and so it is on the up," Bloomfield said.

"We expect it to keep rising and we won't see any impact until another week at least of the measures that are currently in place."

Of the 89 new cases, 76 are confirmed and 13 are probable cases. It brings New Zealand's total to 797.

There are 13 people in hospital. Two are in ICU, but all are stable.

There are 92 people who have recovered from the illness. The Ministry defines someone who has been symptom-free for 48 hours as recovered.

Dr Bloomfield said it is possible that on Saturday he'll be able to update the public on what the criteria could be to reduce the alert level and remove lockdown restrictions.

Of the cases the Ministry of Health has information on, there continues to be a strong link to overseas travel (51 percent of cases) as well as confirmed cases in New Zealand (31 percent). One percent are defined as community transmission. Additionally, 17 percent of cases are still being investigated, and Dr Bloomfield said he believes some of those will be community transmission.

It is expected the number of cases will increase for a brief period after the Ministry of Health announced a change in requirements for who will be tested. Anyone with respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be tested, Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay confirmed on Wednesday.

"We do know this will result in more testing being done, which is good, and which we are also prepared for," she said.

"We currently have eight laboratories who are testing, and by the end of next week we will have 10 laboratories who are able to test, and that will bring up our capacity further."