Coronavirus: Queen Elizabeth asks for 'catch up' with Jacinda Ardern, pair speak about COVID-19

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has spoken to the Queen about how New Zealanders are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a late-night post on Facebook and Instagram, Ardern wrote that she recently received a note saying Queen Elizabeth II wanted to "catch up and see how everyone in New Zealand was getting on in the midst of COVID-19".

"It was such a treat to speak with Her Majesty tonight. Her affection for New Zealand, her interest in what's happening here and her memory of places and events that are special to us never ceases to amaze me," Ardern wrote.

The Prime Minister also shared a photo of her sitting down while speaking on the phone. 

The monarch sent New Zealand a personal message earlier this month, recognising that Kiwis, as well as those in other Commonwealth countries, were experiencing "unprecedented changes to their lives" due to the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

"I send my enduring thanks to those who continue to put the service of others above themselves, whether by staying at home, providing essential services, or by caring for the most vulnerable," she wrote at the time.

"It is through this sense of community, dedication and faith, that I am confident New Zealanders will rise to the challenge and overcome.

"Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui."

That message came in the middle of New Zealand's nationwide alert level 4 lockdown, which required Kiwis to stay at their residences unless they were heading out for essential purposes. On Monday night, the country transitioned to level 3, which allows slightly more freedom - especially to businesses - but still calls for Kiwis to remain home unless it is necessary to leave.

Aotearoa has recorded 1472 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and has had 19 deaths, while the United Kingdom is on track to record one of the worst coronavirus death tolls in Europe. Including the number of people who have died in the community, it's believed the death toll there was more than 24,000 on April 17.

Last week, gun salutes usually carried out to celebrate the Queen's birthday didn't go ahead. The monarch is understood to be residing at Windsor Castle in isolation with Prince Philip and about 22 staff.