Coronavirus: Third and fourth New Zealand COVID-19 deaths confirmed

There have been two more deaths from COVID-19 in New Zealand, the Ministry of Health's Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay confirmed on Saturday afternoon.

The local death toll from the disease is now four, following the death of a woman in her 90s reported on Friday.

Both deaths were in older individuals with underlying health conditions, and linked to existing clusters.

One, a man in his 80s, had been in hospital since late March. 

The second was a man in his 70s who died in Burwood Hospital in Christchurch on Saturday. He was one of a group of 20 transferred from Rosewood to Burwood recently. He tested positive for the disease on April 9.

All the close contacts of the two have been traced.

"Today's news reinforces our move to alert level 4," Dr McElnay said.

"As we have said previously, this can be a very serious disease... We want you to know that our health system will do everything it can to support the fight against COVID-19."

Dr McElnay said an investigation into how COVID-19 got into Rosewood is underway, but maintained moving the patients was the right decision. 

She announced another 29 new cases, made up of 20 confirmed and nine probable. Another 49 have recovered.

"There are now 422 reported cases who have recovered from COVID-19," Dr McElnay said.

The total confirmed number of cases to date is 1312. Overseas travel and related cases make up 86 percent of them.

Fifteen people are currently in hospital, four in ICU. So far, 58,746 tests for COVID-19 have been done.

There are 13 significant clusters now - including newly reported clusters at an aged residential care facility in Christchurch and a daycare centre for individuals with intellectual needs.

Worldwide, there have been more than 102,000 confirmed deaths due to the disease, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus which emerged from China late last year, and 1.7 million confirmed infections.

New Zealand's current lockdown restrictions are in place until April 22. The Government will announce on April 20 if they're to be extended. 

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