Covid 19: Zero new virus cases for 10 days in row, one active case remains

Author
Derek Cheng, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 1 Jun 2020, 1:08PM
New Zealand has recorded 10 straight days of zero new Covid-19 cases. (Photo / File)
New Zealand has recorded 10 straight days of zero new Covid-19 cases. (Photo / File)

Covid 19: Zero new virus cases for 10 days in row, one active case remains

Author
Derek Cheng, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 1 Jun 2020, 1:08PM

There have been 10 days of no new reported cases of Covid-19.

There remains one active case, the Ministry of Health has said in its latest update, just released.

The number of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1504, and the death toll remains at 22.

There were only 626 tests conducted yesterday, a reflection of the holiday period as well as the ministry's announcement that dozens of Covid-19 community-based testing centres around the country were closing.

"Lower testing volumes are regularly observed over holiday weekends, and we recognise that this alert level 2 Queens Birthday, people will have been taking the advantage of the renewed ability to travel and enjoy a break within New Zealand," the ministry said in a statement.

"However we want to encourage and remind everyone that if they have any respiratory symptoms, they should seek advice from Healthline, their GP or after-hours clinic about getting tested. Testing is free."

The ministry said the approach to testing would be kept "under constant review".

"Each DHB will be making its own decisions on how best to provide testing over the coming weeks and this may involve a mix of Community Based Testing Centres, mobile services, primary care and other community-based testing."

The containment of Covid-19 has prompted political leaders - from National, Act and NZ First - to call for the country to be moved to level 1 immediately.

There have been no signs of community transmission for two months.

Some public health experts have called for about 28 days of no new cases before the virus is confidently considered to be eliminated - which is also in line with the ministry's elimination strategy.

The Cabinet is planning to review the level 2 settings on June 8 and will meet no later than June 22 to consider moving to level 1.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has not said what would need to happen to consider moving D-Day to a date earlier than June 22, but the director general of health's advice will be "fundamental".

One prominent voice calling for a move to level 1 is Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, who says the health risks are outweighed by the need to address the economic devastation.

National Party leader Todd Muller this morning called for the Government to explain why a move to level 1 can't be considered earlier.

"Kiwis have made enormous sacrifices to flatten the curve, but if their efforts still aren't enough to move to Level 1 then the Government must explain why.

"It has been more than a week since the last confirmed case of Covid-19. There are fewer cases now than there was before any restrictions were put in place.

"The Government has a duty to speak with one voice on such a critical issue, but all Kiwis are hearing now is mixed messages from the Prime Minister and her deputy."

Act leader David Seymour said level 1 should be in place now.

"Restrictions on the size of social gatherings should be lifted, and peaceful protests over [unarmed African American] George Floyd's death should be allowed to proceed today.

"However, if the Government intends to keep New Zealand at level 2, the rules should be enforced at today's protests.

"The level 2 rules say social gatherings that exceed 100 people are prohibited. There should be no exception for particular causes."

Calls to move to level 1 have in general been dismissed by top epidemiologist Sir David Skegg: "People who advocate a move to level 1 straight away are either ignorant or indulging in political posturing."