No new cases of Covid-19; total now 1504

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Ministry of Health Covid-19 update

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Today there are no new cases of Covid-19 to report in New Zealand.

Our total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 remains at 1154, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

Our combined total of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1504.

Today there is no change to the number of people recovered at 1455 representing 97 per cent of all confirmed and probable cases as having recovered from Covid-19.

There are no additional deaths to report.

There remains one person receiving hospital-level care for Covid-19; they are in Middlemore and are not in ICU.

Yesterday our laboratories completed 5604 tests bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 255,850.

NZ Covid Tracer app

The NZ Covid Tracer app has now recorded 324,000 registrations, 31,000 more than at the same time yesterday.

We continue to encourage 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.

A good explanation about the importance of prompt contact tracing has been recently provided by University of Auckland Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles.

The Ministry is very supportive of the work done by businesses to get their unique QR code that people can use to record having been there.

To reinforce on privacy:
·        personal information and contact details provided through the app will only be used to get in touch if an individual is identified as a close contact of a Covid-19 case
·        information about the locations individuals choose to record is stored securely on their phone and is not shared with contact tracers unless an individual chooses to do so.

In either case, the personal information shared with the Ministry is held for public health purposes only and will never be used for enforcement.

The NZ Covid Tracer app, already being used by Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, is strongly supported by New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner who has said New Zealanders should feel secure in downloading and using the app.

Maximum gatherings limited to 10

Many New Zealanders will be noticing that life is returning to a new normal but a key reminder this weekend is that the maximum number of people who can gather remains at 10 for now.  This limit applies to both private and public gatherings including church and faith based ones.

The only exceptions to this are funerals and tangihanga registered by funeral directors with the Ministry of Health.

New Zealand is in a relatively good position with regard to restricting the number of cases of Covid-19 and its important that we keep it there.

‘I want to acknowledge once again the support and patience of New Zealanders to get us to this point.

‘It remains important to minimise the mixing and mingling involved in larger groups.

‘I know many people, including those of faith, want to move as quickly as possible to increase the size of their gatherings. I know how important it is for people to be able to practise their faith together.

‘The number of people at gatherings will be one of the specific issues being reconsidered by Cabinet on Monday – until then it remains at 10’, Dr Bloomfield says.