COVID-19: Three new cases of coronavirus in New Zealand

There have been three new cases and no new deaths from COVID-19 in New Zealand in the last 24 hours, the Director of Public Health has revealed.

One of the new cases is linked to overseas travel, one is linked to a known case and one is still being investigated, Dr Caroline McElnay said during a press conference from the Beehive on Friday.

There have now been 1132 confirmed cases and 347 probable, bringing New Zealand's total to 1479.

Dr McElnay confirmed that 1252 people had recovered from COVID-19 overall - an increase of 11 on Thursday - which means 85 percent of Kiwis who had coronavirus no longer do.

Six people remain in hospital, none of which are in intensive care.

In the last 24 hours, 5328 coronavirus tests have been completed, bringing the total number of tests to 139,898.

Speaking on the three new COVID-19 cases reported among Waitakere Hospital staff just before the press conference, Dr McElnay said there is now an investigation underway to determine how they contracted the disease.

Full personal protective equipment (PPE) was worn at all times, she said.

What we know about the coronavirus

The World Health Organization (WHO) was first notified of cases of the virus SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) in Wuhan, China on December 31.

It was identified as a coronavirus on January 7 and can spread via human-to-human transmission. It causes the coronavirus COVID-19 illness.

The virus is primarily spread through droplets in the air after someone sneezes or coughs, however, it can also be contracted by touching surfaces where the illness is present. The length of time the virus stays alive on surfaces isn't fully understood, but some studies have suggested that on some materials it could be for days.

"Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death," the WHO says.

"Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing."

There is currently no vaccine for the sickness.