Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sends 'nurse Jenny from Invercargill' Facebook message

Jacinda Ardern says she sent "nurse Jenny from Invercargill" a Facebook message, after the Kiwi health worker got a very public shoutout from Boris Johnson on Monday.

The British Prime Minister mentioned "Jenny" in a video he shared online after being discharged from hospital on Sunday (local time).

Johnson had been in the intensive care unit at St Thomas' Hospital in central London after being diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Upon his release, he thanked NHS staff for their work, paying special tribute to a select few "who stood by my bedside for 48 hours when things could have gone either way".

"They are Jenny from New Zealand - Invercargill on the South Island to be exact - and Luis from Portugal, near Porto," he said.

"Jenny from New Zealand" was later revealed to be Jenny McGee, and it appears she also caught the attention of our own Prime Minister.

"This morning, like many of you, I saw the reports of nurse Jenny from Invercargill being credited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his recovery," Ardern said while addressing media on Monday. "We've thanked our frontline health workers in New Zealand many times and rightly so, but I wanted to add an acknowledgement that many, many Kiwis work in healthcare around the world.

"They show the same commitment, same care, same work ethic that they do here - and we're all very proud of them, especially nurse Jenny."

The PM said she had reached out to Jenny "using the informal tactic of finding her on Facebook and sending a Facebook message".

She had yet to hear back, she said.

"Nor would I expect to hear back from her, necessarily at all. She's obviously on the frontline and I imagine will be very focused on her job."

In his video, Johnson thanked Jenny and Luis for their unwavering care.

"The reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed," he said.

Ardern and Johnson were not the only ones to thank Jenny.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt told Newshub the city was "so very, very proud" of the 35-year-old.

"I mean how often in our history has a young nurse from Invercargill saved the life of a Prime Minister of Great Britain. It's absolutely unbelievable."

Johnson's message came as the death toll in his country topped 10,000, with more than 80,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 recorded so far. 

In New Zealand, a further 19 cases were reported on Monday, with the death toll rising to five following the death of a man in his 80s.