Coronavirus: Four new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

There are four new cases of coronavirus in New Zealand, the Health Minister has revealed - two of which are in the community.

The remaining two cases are in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities, Chris Hipkins said in a press conference on Thursday.

Both new community cases are epidemiologically linked to existing cases in the new bereavement sub-cluster, which links back to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship Church.

The Health Minister said a missing, undisclosed chain of transmission led to the sub-cluster's emergence. However health officials do not yet known if this information was deliberately or inadvertently held back.

Both imported cases - one a man in his 30s, the other a woman in her 50s - arrived in New Zealand on a flight from India on August 27.

They tested positive on day 12 of their stay at a Christchurch managed isolation hotel, and have now been transferred to a quarantine facility.

There were nine people who recovered from COVID-19 on Thursday, which sees the number of active cases in New Zealand drop to 120 - 81 in the community, and 39 imported.

The total number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in New Zealand now stands at 1792.

There were 7950 tests processed on Wednesday, bringing the total completed to date to 839,467.

Since August 11, the day community cases re-emerged in New Zealand, contact tracers have identified 3372 close contacts of cases.

Of these, just 18 are yet to be contacted and told to self-isolate, and the Ministry of Health is in the process of trying to reach them.

There are three people in hospital with COVID-19 - one is on a ward, while two are in intensive care at North Shore and Waikato hospitals.

'It appears we've caught this sub-cluster early'

Hipkins says the new 'bereavement activities' sub-cluster appears to have been detected early, with all new cases known contacts of infected people.

"We know we have the new sub-cluster - let's get on top of it as quickly as we can," he said.

Hipkins says church leaders are actively encouraging all members of the Mt Roskill congregation to retest by Friday, and to comply with other public health advice such as self-isolation.

The church is cooperating, and by 8am on Thursday 213 of the 332 people in the congregation had registered new tests - 64 percent.

Meanwhile St Dominic's College - which also has links to the church - has completed a deep clean and got testing of staff, students and the wider school community underway.

Labs have registered 561 tests related to this school community, and two dedicated centres have been set up for these people that aren't open to general public

The Health Minister says "the best protection we all have is our collective effort not to give the virus anywhere else to go".

Misinformation may halt move to alert level 1

The Health Minister said the Government is "moving rapidly" to contain the latest mini-cluster, related to the bereavement activities involving people with links to the Mt Roskill church cluster.

But he warned "repeated, deliberate, malicious spreading of misinformation" could prevent Auckland moving to alert level 1.

"Please think twice before sharing something you cannot verify," Hipkins said, before asking Kiwis to drown out misinformation by sharing the right information.

He reiterated that the virus is "very real" and "very deadly", and urged skeptics to watch international news coverage to see the realities of COVID-19's impacts on the world.

Hipkins says the best approach New Zealand can take to stymie COVID-19 misinformation is to "give [it] nowhere to go, just like we're giving the virus nowhere to go".