Ministry of Health Covid-19 update
May 21, 2020
Today there are no new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.
That means our total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 remains at 1153, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.
Our combined total of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1503.
Today we have recorded 97 per cent of all confirmed and probable cases as having recovered from Covid-19, an increase of five on yesterday, for a total of 1452.
There are no additional deaths to report.
There is one person receiving hospital-level care for Covid-19, they are in Middlemore and are not in the ICU.
Yesterday our laboratories completed 6113 tests bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 244,838.
New Zealanders are encouraged to get their flu vaccine, especially as the weather starts to get colder.
We had a record number of 1.76 million Southern Hemisphere vaccines this year and that is now open to everyone, however we are still asking immunisation providers to make sure they hold enough stock for priority groups such as pregnant women, older people and those with pre-existing conditions.
The Ministry of Health and Pharmac have also successfully secured 360,000 Northern Hemisphere vaccines which will be available for providers to order this week.
The Northern Hemisphere vaccine contains two of the same strains of influenza vaccine as the usual vaccines used in New Zealand this year, and one that is closely related.
Funerals and tangihanga
Since we moved into Alert Level 2 just over a week ago there has been the ability for funerals and tangihanga to have up to 50 people where funeral directors can demonstrate that appropriate public health measures are in place.
Funeral directors register these funerals or tangihanga with the Ministry. Since the beginning of Alert Level 2 there have been 650 funerals or tangihanga registered – though separate services at a church and a crematorium for the same person may count as two events.
The Ministry is very aware of the importance of families, friends and whānau being able to gather together to grieve and that is supported by the large number of registrations.
NZ Covid Tracer app
The Ministry continues to be encouraged by the number of Kiwis who have downloaded NZ Covid Tracer – we have now recorded 240,000 registrations.
We want as many people as possible to download the app – it will help us identify, trace, test and isolate any cases of Covid-19. The faster we can do these steps the less likely it is the virus can spread in our communities.
It is also really important that businesses are going through the steps to get their unique QR code that people can use to record having been there. We have now recorded 6,800 QR codes generated by businesses.
The Ministry has now published a draft data standard and supporting specifications for NZ Covid Tracer. These will support developers of other contact tracing apps to use the NZ Covid Tracer QR codes.
This means there will be no need for people to see multiple QR codes at one location, provided other apps choose to adopt the NZ Covid Tracer standard.
The Ministry has already been in touch with the software vendors we engaged with on the standard and specifications to direct them to the published documents, which are available on our website
Yesterday some New Zealanders were having trouble locating the app in the Google Play Store – the Ministry has worked with Google to ensure the app can be found more easily.
Updates to the app went out last night which included fixes for bugs that are very normal for any new app to have when it is first released.
And just to be clear on privacy, the personal information and contact details you provide through the app will only be used to get in touch if you are identified as a close contact of a Covid-19 case.
Any information about the locations you sign into is stored securely on your phone and is not shared with contact tracers unless you choose to do so.
In either case, the personal information you share with us is held for public health purposes only and will never be used for enforcement.
Bars and pubs reopen today – while we remain in Alert Level 2 we ask that people keep behaviour at a restricted level, too.
Bars will be implementing newly established health and safety requirements including seating and plenty of space between tables.
These requirements are designed to limit physical interaction between patrons and between staff and customers.
This is a great chance to catch up with a friend and support local businesses. Have fun if you head out to a bar in coming days but support the staff by ensuring you do so from your seat with your small group.
And just a note on the contact details you are providing when you are out and about – whether it be a bar, a restaurant or a café.
Please ensure you are providing the correct details. We are taking these steps because it is important to be able to trace contacts of people who have Covid-19. Providing incorrect details will slow the process, and risks giving the virus a chance to spread in our communities when we have worked so hard to stamp it out.