COVID-19: Health Minister Chris Hipkins tells the Ministry of Health to 'work faster' as community coronavirus tests drop

Health Minister Chris Hipkins says he's told the Ministry of Health to "work faster" in getting test numbers back up after community testing plummeted in recent weeks.

Since Hipkins became the Minister of Health three weeks ago, he said he wanted 4000 tests per day on average to be sure the novel coronavirus hadn't resurfaced in the community.

But just eight community tests were conducted on Sunday and 681 tests carried out overall. That improved slightly on Monday with 1007 tests overall - but still well below Hipkins' expectations.

The testing rates are still not good enough, Hipkins said. He told The AM Show on Wednesday there were still enough people presenting with symptoms to get the rates back up.

"We've got to get those numbers back up again and that's exactly what the health system is working on," he said. "I want them to work faster on that."

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there was a drop-off in testing during the school holiday and weekends.

But Dr Bloomfield said health officials were conscious of the COVID-19 crisis unfolding in the Australian state of Victoria, prompting him to meet with clinical leaders about getting community-based testing numbers back up.

Hipkins said there were no "good excuses" for the low numbers.

However, he agreed with Dr Bloomfield there were some "mitigating factors" that had slowed down testing progress.

"The Government's expectations are very very clear here," Hipkins said.

New Zealand's latest COVID-19 data - including Tuesday's testing numbers - will be released at about 1pm.