No new cases of COVID-19
4/06/2020 3:33:08 p.m.

 Thursday 4June 

Once again, there are no new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand. 

This is the 13th consecutive day of no new cases. 

Our total number of confirmed cases remains at 1,154, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization. 

Our combined total of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1,504. The number of recovered cases is unchanged at 1,481. Only one case remains active. There are no additional deaths to report. There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19. 

Yesterday our laboratories completed 2,649 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 286,174. 

NZ COVID Tracer app
The NZ COVID Tracer app has now recorded 495,000 registrations – that’s an increase of 8,000 since this time yesterday. We continue to encourage as many people as possible to download the app – it will support our contact tracing efforts including when we move to Level 1. 

Similarly, businesses are encouraged to also create a unique QR code – we’ve simplified the process for this in response to feedback. Details can be found on the Ministry of Health website: www.health.govt.nz/nz-covid-tracer-qr
And there is an email address that you can use to contact our team if you need help – that is app@tracing.min.health.nz
The total number of poster scans to date is 541,470. 

Global situation
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the situation with COVID-19 internationally was important to New Zealand.
 
The highest number of cases reported to the WHO in any one day was just three days ago, with 124,139 cases of COVID-19 reported globally on June 1. In total, countries have reported nearly 6.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Internationally there have been around 380,000 COVID-19 deaths reported to the WHO.
 
“The point here is that we are still very early in the evolution of this pandemic,” Dr Bloomfield said.
“There are still big gaps in our knowledge about COVID-19.
“New Zealand is in a position that is the envy of many countries internationally – and that is because of the hard work and sacrifices of so many Kiwis.
“Because of this, we have been able to ease restrictions and open up our domestic economy.
“If we want to stay in the good position we are in now, we can’t afford to act as if it is all over – globally, it has only just started.” 

Italy, which quickly became one of Europe’s worst-affected countries when coronavirus started to spread across the world, has started lifting restrictions and allowing travel to and from the country this week. The virus has killed more than 33,000 people in Italy, and as restrictions ease they still have around 40,000 active COVID-19 cases, with nearly 3,000 new cases reported in the last week. 

Across the ditch in New South Wales, rates of new COVID-19 cases are low, and NSW reported no cases yesterday. In the week to 30 May they had 13 confirmed cases, 9 of them from overseas.
NSW’s total number of cases is 3095 confirmed cases – double our total of confirmed and probable cases (1504). 

Internationally it is estimated 6.1% of COVID-19 cases are reported to have died as a result of their infection. New Zealand’s death rate of 1.9% is similar to that of NSW’s at 1.6% and South Korea (2.4%), considerably lower than Italy (14.3%), the UK (14%) and Spain (12.1%). 

In NSW this week gyms, recreational centres, swimming pools and dance studies were reopened to 10 people per class and a maximum of 100 per indoor venue. Outdoor public gatherings remain limited to 10 people and there is a limit of five visitors to an individual’s home at any one time. 

On Monday night Dr Bloomfield joined a WHO regional video call that included representatives from Hong Kong, China, Singapore, and South Korea on the topic of how to reopen borders safely. All participants were very interested in learning from each other and the steps that were being taken to combat COVID-19. 

“In New Zealand, we need to remain vigilant to the threat the virus poses – and remember that life is not going to be the same as it was before," Dr Bloomfield said.
“Make a new “normal” by permanently implementing some of the measures we have put in place over COVID-19 – washing your hands thoroughly, staying home if you are unwell, and keeping a diary of where you have been, including by using the NZ COVID Tracer app.” 

Bowel screening
A reflection of our health services increasingly returning to the new normal under COVID-19 is the announcement today of the first stage of the restart of the National Bowel Screening Programme.

Immediately before lockdown, around 29,000 people were sent letters asking them to hold off sending their bowel screening test kit back until the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. We’re now asking people to complete the tests and send them back – 11,000 have already done so.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the programme continued to process tests and those with positive test results are now being offered follow-up investigations, in most cases a colonoscopy.

The next stage will be DHBs sending out new invitations for screening next week, and recalls and the bowel screening test kits going out a fortnight later.
ENDS

Media contact
Name: Peter Abernethy
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