Coronavirus: New Zealand records two new cases of COVID-19 at the border

Two new cases of coronavirus have been recorded in New Zealand's managed isolation facilities in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health has revealed.

The first is a man in his 20s who arrived in New Zealand on July 23 from the Philippines, via Hong Kong. He has been in managed isolation at the Rydges in Rotorua and originally tested negative for COVID-19 around day three of his stay.

However he has now been transferred to the Jet Park Hotel, Auckland's quarantine facility, after testing positive at around day 12.

The second case is a woman in her 40s who arrived in New Zealand on August 1 from the Philippines via Hong Kong. She has been in managed isolation at the Grand Millennium in Auckland, and tested positive around day three.

The number of active cases at New Zealand's border is now up to 24.

There remains no evidence of community transmission, and the Ministry of Health says it's now been 96 days since the last case of COVID-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source.

No one is receiving hospital-level care for coronavirus.

New Zealand's labs processed 4140 COVID-19 tests on Tuesday, more than 80 percent of which were in the community. The total number of tests completed since the outbreak started is now 477,909.

'Now is the time': Renewed plea to download COVID Tracer app amid community transmission concerns

After telling The AM Show on Wednesday morning that community transmission of COVID-19 was a case of 'not if, but when', the Director-General of Health has again pleaded with Kiwis to download the Government's COVID Tracer app.

The app, which allows New Zealanders to log their movements in a digital diary, has been downloaded by just 630,700 people - just a small fraction of the total 'team of 5 million'.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield says Kiwis need to make use of the app a priority.

"We can't afford for people to wait until there is a case of community transmission to start using the app - we need to quickly be able to isolate any contacts of a future case in our community before the virus spreads out of control," he said.

"By keeping a record of your movements, you will be able to quickly call upon your digital or written diary of your movements to assess whether you may have been exposed to a case of COVID-19.

"Now is the time for New Zealanders to get the app and get in the habit of using it - it is simple, quick and now has extra functionality allowing for manual entries to record where you have been."

Masks may become 'important component of NZ's strategy'

The Ministry of Health says masks will become a core part of the country's COVID-19 strategy if there's a second wave of the disease in the community.

"The updated World Health Organization (WHO) advice is that masks are effective in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when worn by the public where there are cases of community transmission," it said.

"The WHO also suggests that people should be prepared for the use of masks before the need to use them arises."

The ministry says masks have been used to good effect overseas, and can be "particularly useful" in situations where close proximity to others is difficult to avoid, suhch as in shops or on public transport.

"If there are further outbreaks of COVID-19, masks will be one important component of our strategy for containing the spread of the virus," it said.