Coronavirus: New Zealand has 14 more confirmed cases

Publish Date
Saturday, 21 March 2020, 11:12AM

New Zealand now has 14 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total number of cases to 53.

It is the biggest jump in cases in a single day so far - and two of the cases have no link to overseas travel, meaning the risk of community transmission cannot be ruled out.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield has just made the announcement.

"We always knew that cases not linked to travel could happen and we are prepared for that," he said.

Another 1,500 tests were processed in the last 24 hours, he said.

Of the confirmed cases, three people were in hospital and in a stable condition.

The new cases are in Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu, Taupo, Wellington, and Nelson.

Of the cases not linked to travel, one was in Auckland and one in Wairarapa.

Neither of the people had travelled overseas, so their relatives and friends' travel was being checked.

One of the people's partners had contact with people who travelled frequently.

READ MORE:
• Tom Hanks gives health update after testing positive for coronavirus
• Céline Dion, Cher, Billy Joel and Michael Bublé postpone concerts amidst coronavirus outbreak

Testing for Covid-19 has ramped up, Bloomfield said, as more people returned from overseas, and would continue to do so.

That will help detect if there has been community transmission in New Zealand, he said.

New Zealand's rate of 1,500 tests a day compared to South Korea's rate of 10,000 a day for a population 10 times larger.

The Ruby Princess cruise ship, which has just arrived in Sydney, had three confirmed Covid-19 cases, and 56 New Zealanders on board are being contacted. Of that total, 28 have already returned to New Zealand.

All of the people on that ship were being considered close contacts and were being monitored daily by health officials.

All of the people on that ship were being considered close contacts and were being monitored daily by health officials.

Bloomfield also said New Zealanders were taking self-isolation seriously.

The update comes ahead of a State of the Nation speech by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, which will be broadcast from the Beehive at midday.

 

This article was originally posted by NZ Herald and reproduced here with permission.