New Zealand has recorded zero new cases of COVID-19 over the last day, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has revealed.
That's the 12th day of no new cases. The total number of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1504. There continues to be just one active case. No one requires hospital-level care in Aotearoa.
In terms of the move to alert level 1, Dr Bloomfield said our 12 days of no cases was "very encouraging". He will provide advice to Cabinet for ministers to consider next week.
He stressed that alert level 2 rules continue to apply, including limits on gatherings.
On Tuesday, 1262 tests were processed, taking the grand total to 283,525 tests. He said tests were primarily on symptomatic people and their close contacts, but as New Zealand moved to alert level 2, asymptomatic people were included to identify any "hidden pockets of infection". Between the end of April and the end of May, more than 30,000 such tests were undertaken on top of testing of symptomatic people. That found only one positive result - a worker at Auckland Airport. Dr Bloomfield said it seemed probable the infection was linked to earlier overseas travel.
He said the focus will remain on testing people with respiratory symptoms. Dr Bloomfield expects the number of tests to grow as people do get those symptoms in winter.
Targeted surveillance testing, largely focused on the border, will continue to support border measures and rapid contact tracing.
Dr Bloomfield said everyone coming into New Zealand could be tested from next week to ensure our border is "water tight". Currently, only Kiwis can come into the country.
So far, there have been 487,000 registrations on the COVID Tracer phone application. Dr Bloomfield continues to encourage people to sign up. It will continue to support contact tracing efforts, including whenever we move to alert level 1. He said just over 29,000 posters have been created to help with tracing, representing more than 17,000 businesses and organisations.
"To date, people using the app have downloaded the codes just over 496,000 times, so scans are being done each day and that continues to increase which I am very pleased about."
Dr Bloomfield also asked Kiwis to be kind to those who have had COVID-19 and said there shouldn't be a stigma around those who have been infected.