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COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand

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COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand
COVID-19 Outbreak Cases in New Zealand (DHB Totals, per capita).svg
Map of cases per million inhabitants in New Zealand by district health board
  6+ cases per million people
  3–5.9 cases
  2–2.9 cases
  1–1.9 cases
  0–0.9 cases
COVID-19 Outbreak Cases in New Zealand (DHB Totals).svg
Map of cases in New Zealand by district health board
  200+ confirmed cases
  100–199 confirmed cases
  50–99 confirmed cases
  10–49 confirmed cases
  1–9 confirmed cases
COVID-19 Outbreak Deaths in New Zealand (DHB Totals).svg
Map of deaths in New Zealand by district health board
  10+ confirmed deaths
  2–9 confirmed deaths
  1 confirmed death
  0 confirmed deaths
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationNew Zealand
First outbreakWuhan, Hubei, China
Index caseAuckland, Auckland Region
Arrival date28 February 2020
(1 year, 3 months, 3 weeks and 2 days ago)
Confirmed cases2,362[1] (total)
Active cases22[1]
Suspected cases356[1] (total)
Recovered2,670[1]
Deaths
26[1]
Fatality rate0.96%
Government website
www.covid19.govt.nz
Suspected cases have not been confirmed by laboratory tests as being due to this strain, although some other strains may have been ruled out.

The COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand is part of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case of the disease in New Zealand was reported on 28 February 2020. As of 20 June 2021, the country has had a total of 2,718 cases (2,362 confirmed and 356 probable[a]). 26 people have died from the virus, with cases recorded in all twenty district health board (DHB) areas.[1] The pandemic peaked in early April 2020, with 89 new cases recorded per day and 929 active cases. A total of 1,852,557[2] COVID tests have been carried out as of 22 March 2021.

All borders and entry ports of New Zealand were closed to non-residents on 19 March 2020, with returning citizens and residents being required to self-isolate. From 10 April 2020, all people arriving by air had to go into two weeks of managed isolation in adapted commercial hotels. Travel from Australia opened up from 19 April 2021, and from the Cook Islands on 19 May.

A four-level alert level system was introduced on 21 March 2020 to manage the outbreak within New Zealand. Since then, after a nationwide lockdown from March to May 2020, regionalised alert level changes have been used, where the Auckland Region has entered lockdown twice, in August–September 2020 and February–March 2021.

Background

On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was the cause of a respiratory illness (coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19), found in a cluster of people in Wuhan, Hubei, People's Republic of China, which had been reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.[3][4]

The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003,[5][6] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll worldwide.[7][5]

Transmission timeline

COVID-19 cases in New Zealand  ()
     Deaths        Recoveries        Active cases
2020202020212021
FebFebMarMarAprAprMayMayJunJunJulJulAugAugSepSepOctOctNovNovDecDec
JanJanFebFebMarMarAprAprMayMayJunJun
Last 15 daysLast 15 days
Date
# of cases
# of deaths
2020-02-28
1(n.a.)
1(=)
2020-03-04
2(+1)
2020-03-05
4(+2)
2020-03-06
4(=)
2020-03-07
5(+1)
5(=)
2020-03-14
6(+1)
2020-03-15
8(+2)
2020-03-16
8(=)
2020-03-17
12(+4)
2020-03-18
20(+8)
2020-03-19
28(+8)
2020-03-20
39(+11)
2020-03-21
52(+13)
2020-03-22
66(+14)
2020-03-23
102(+36)
2020-03-24
155(+53)
2020-03-25
205(+50)
2020-03-26
283(+78)
2020-03-27
368(+85)
2020-03-28
451(+83)
2020-03-29
514(+63) 1(n.a.)
2020-03-30
589(+75) 1(=)
2020-03-31
647(+58) 1(=)
2020-04-01
708(+61) 1(=)
2020-04-02
797(+89) 1(=)
2020-04-03
868(+71) 1(=)
2020-04-04
950(+82) 1(=)
2020-04-05
1,039(+89) 1(=)
2020-04-06
1,106(+67) 1(=)
2020-04-07
1,160(+54) 1(=)
2020-04-08
1,210(+50) 1(=)
2020-04-09
1,239(+29) 1(=)
2020-04-10
1,283(+44) 2(+1)
2020-04-11
1,312(+29) 4(+2)
2020-04-12
1,330(+18) 4(=)
2020-04-13
1,349(+19) 5(+1)
2020-04-14
1,366(+17) 9(+4)
2020-04-15
1,386(+20) 9(=)
2020-04-16
1,401(+15) 9(=)
2020-04-17
1,409(+8) 11(+2)
2020-04-18
1,422(+13) 11(=)
2020-04-19
1,431(+9) 12(+1)
2020-04-20
1,440(+9) 12(=)
2020-04-21
1,445(+5) 13(+1)
2020-04-22
1,448(+3) 14(+1)
2020-04-23
1,451(+3) 16(+2)
2020-04-24
1,456(+5) 17(+1)
2020-04-25
1,461(+5) 18(+1)
2020-04-26
1,470(+9) 18(=)
2020-04-27
1,469(-1) 19(+1)
2020-04-28
1,472(+3) 19(=)
2020-04-29
1,474(+2) 19(=)
2020-04-30
1,476(+2) 19(=)
2020-05-01
1,479(+3) 19(=)
2020-05-02
1,485(+6) 20(+1)
2020-05-03
1,487(+2) 20(=)
2020-05-04
1,487(=) 20(=)
2020-05-05
1,486(-1) 20(=)
2020-05-06
1,488(+2) 21(+1)
2020-05-07
1,489(+1) 21(=)
2020-05-08
1,490(+1) 21(=)
2020-05-09
1,492(+2) 21(=)
2020-05-10
1,494(+2) 21(=)
2020-05-11
1,497(+3) 21(=)
2020-05-12
1,497(=) 21(=)
2020-05-13
1,497(=) 21(=)
2020-05-14
1,497(=) 21(=)
2020-05-15
1,498(+1) 21(=)
2020-05-16
1,498(=) 21(=)
2020-05-17
1,499(+1) 21(=)
2020-05-18
1,499(=) 21(=)
2020-05-19
1,503(=[b]) 21(=)
2020-05-20
1,503(=) 21(=)
2020-05-21
1,503(=) 21(=)
2020-05-22
1,504(+1) 21(=)
2020-05-23
1,504(=) 21(=)
2020-05-24
1,504(=) 21(=)
2020-05-25
1,504(=) 21(=)
2020-05-26
1,504(=) 21(=)
2020-05-27
1,504(=) 21(=)
2020-05-28
1,504(=) 22(+1)
2020-05-29
1,504(=) 22(=)
1,504(=) 22(=)
2020-06-08
1,504(=) 22(=)
1,504(=) 22(=)
2020-06-16
1,506(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-17
1,506(=) 22(=)
2020-06-18
1,507(+1) 22(=)
2020-06-19
1,507(=) 22(=)
2020-06-20
1,509(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-21
1,511(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-22
1,513(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-23
1,515(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-24
1,516(+1) 22(=)
2020-06-25
1,519(+3) 22(=)
2020-06-26
1,520(+1) 22(=)
2020-06-27
1,522(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-28
1,526(+4) 22(=)
2020-06-29
1,528(+2) 22(=)
2020-06-30
1,528(=) 22(=)
2020-07-01
1,528(=) 22(=)
2020-07-02
1,530(+2) 22(=)
2020-07-03
1,530(=) 22(=)
2020-07-04
1,530(=) 22(=)
2020-07-05
1,533(+3) 22(=)
2020-07-06
1,534(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-07
1,536(+2) 22(=)
2020-07-08
1,537(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-09
1,540(+3) 22(=)
2020-07-10
1,542(+2) 22(=)
2020-07-11
1,543(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-12
1,544(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-13
1,544(=) 22(=)
2020-07-14
1,545(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-15
1,547(+2) 22(=)
2020-07-16
1,548(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-17
1,549(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-18
1,550(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-19
1,553(+3) 22(=)
2020-07-20
1,554(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-21
1,555(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-22
1,555(=) 22(=)
2020-07-23
1,555(=) 22(=)
2020-07-24
1,556(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-25
1,556(=) 22(=)
2020-07-26
1,556(=) 22(=)
2020-07-27
1,556(=) 22(=)
2020-07-28
1,557(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-29
1,559(+2) 22(=)
2020-07-30
1,560(+1) 22(=)
2020-07-31
1,560(=) 22(=)
2020-08-01
1,562(+2) 22(=)
2020-08-02
1,565(+3) 22(=)
2020-08-03
1,567(+2) 22(=)
2020-08-04
1,567(=) 22(=)
2020-08-05
1,569(+2) 22(=)
2020-08-06
1,569(=) 22(=)
1,569(=) 22(=)
2020-08-10
1,569(=) 22(=)
2020-08-11
1,574(+5) 22(=)
2020-08-12
1,579(+5) 22(=)
2020-08-13
1,589(+10) 22(=)
2020-08-14
1,602(+13) 22(=)
2020-08-15
1,609(+7) 22(=)
2020-08-16
1,622(+13) 22(=)
2020-08-17
1,631(+9) 22(=)
2020-08-18
1,643(+12) 22(=)
2020-08-19
1,649(+6) 22(=)
2020-08-20
1,654(+5) 22(=)
2020-08-21
1,665(+11) 22(=)
2020-08-22
1,671(+6) 22(=)
2020-08-23
1,674(+3) 22(=)
2020-08-24
1,683(+9) 22(=)
2020-08-25
1,690(+7) 22(=)
2020-08-26
1,695(+5) 22(=)
2020-08-27
1,702(+7) 22(=)
2020-08-28
1,714(+12) 22(=)
2020-08-29
1,727(+13) 22(=)
2020-08-30
1,729(+2) 22(=)
2020-08-31
1,738(+9) 22(=)
2020-09-01
1,752(+14) 22(=)
2020-09-02
1,757(+5) 22(=)
2020-09-03
1,759(+2) 22(=)
2020-09-04
1,764(+5) 22(=)
2020-09-05
1,767(+3) 24(+2)
2020-09-06
1,772(+5) 24(=)
2020-09-07
1,776(+4) 24(=)
2020-09-08
1,782(+6) 24(=)
2020-09-09
1,788(+6) 24(=)
2020-09-10
1,792(+4) 24(=)
2020-09-11
1,793(+1) 24(=)
2020-09-12
1,795(+2) 24(=)
2020-09-13
1,797(+2) 24(=)
2020-09-14
1,798(+1) 24(=)
2020-09-15
1,801(+3) 24(=)
2020-09-16
1,802(+1) 25(+1)
2020-09-17
1,809(+7) 25(=)
2020-09-18
1,809(=) 25(=)
2020-09-19
1,811(+2) 25(=)
2020-09-20
1,815(+4) 25(=)
2020-09-21
1,815(=) 25(=)
2020-09-22
1,815(=) 25(=)
2020-09-23
1,824(+3[b]) 25(=)
2020-09-24
1,827(+3) 25(=)
2020-09-25
1,829(+2) 25(=)
2020-09-26
1,831(+1[b]) 25(=)
2020-09-27
1,833(+2) 25(=)
2020-09-28
1,833(=) 25(=)
2020-09-29
1,835(+2) 25(=)
2020-09-30
1,836(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-01
1,848(+12) 25(=)
2020-10-02
1,848(=) 25(=)
2020-10-03
1,849(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-04
1,854(+5) 25(=)
2020-10-05
1,855(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-06
1,858(+3) 25(=)
2020-10-07
1,861(+3) 25(=)
2020-10-08
1,864(+2[b]) 25(=)
2020-10-09
1,866(+2) 25(=)
2020-10-10
1,870(+4) 25(=)
2020-10-11
1,871(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-12
1,871(=) 25(=)
2020-10-13
1,872(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-14
1,874(+2) 25(=)
2020-10-15
1,876(+2) 25(=)
2020-10-16
1,880(+4) 25(=)
2020-10-17
1,883(+3) 25(=)
2020-10-18
1,886(+3) 25(=)
2020-10-19
1,886(=) 25(=)
2020-10-20
1,887(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-21
1,912(+25) 25(=)
2020-10-22
1,914(+2) 25(=)
2020-10-23
1,923(+9) 25(=)
2020-10-24
1,934(+11) 25(=)
2020-10-25
1,935(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-26
1,940(+5) 25(=)
2020-10-27
1,941(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-28
1,943(+2) 25(=)
2020-10-29
1,949(+6) 25(=)
2020-10-30
1,950(+1) 25(=)
2020-10-31
1,957(+7) 25(=)
2020-11-01
1,959(+2) 25(=)
2020-11-02
1,963(+4) 25(=)
2020-11-03
1,968(+5) 25(=)
2020-11-04
1,971(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-05
1,973(+2) 25(=)
2020-11-06
1,974(+1) 25(=)
2020-11-07
1,976(+2) 25(=)
2020-11-08
1,982(+6) 25(=)
2020-11-09
1,986(+4) 25(=)
2020-11-10
1,987(+1) 25(=)
2020-11-11
1,988(+1) 25(=)
2020-11-12
1,991(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-13
1,995(+4) 25(=)
2020-11-14
1,998(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-15
2,001(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-16
2,001(+1[c]) 25(=)
2020-11-17
2,005(+4) 25(=)
2020-11-18
2,008(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-19
2,010(+2) 25(=)
2020-11-20
2,013(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-21
2,019(+6) 25(=)
2020-11-22
2,028(+9) 25(=)
2020-11-23
2,030(+2) 25(=)
2020-11-24
2,031(+2[c]) 25(=)
2020-11-25
2,039(+8) 25(=)
2020-11-26
2,040(+1) 25(=)
2020-11-27
2,047(+7) 25(=)
2020-11-28
2,050(+3) 25(=)
2020-11-29
2,052(+2) 25(=)
2020-11-30
2,056(+4) 25(=)
2020-12-01
2,059(+3) 25(=)
2020-12-02
2,060(+1) 25(=)
2020-12-03
2,069(+9) 25(=)
2020-12-04
2,069(=) 25(=)
2020-12-05
2,078(+9) 25(=)
2020-12-06
2,078(=) 25(=)
2020-12-07
2,079(+1) 25(=)
2020-12-08
2,085(+6) 25(=)
2020-12-09
2,088(+3) 25(=)
2020-12-10
2,088(—) 25(=)
2020-12-11
2,092(+6[c]) 25(=)
2020-12-12
2,093(+1) 25(=)
2020-12-13
2,096(+3) 25(=)
2020-12-14
2,096(=) 25(=)
2020-12-15
2,096(—) 25(=)
2020-12-16
2,100(+4) 25(=)
2020-12-17
2,100(—) 25(=)
2020-12-18
2,110(+10) 25(=)
2020-12-19
2,110(—) 25(=)
2020-12-20
2,116(+6) 25(=)
2020-12-21
2,121(+5) 25(=)
2020-12-22
2,121(—) 25(=)
2020-12-23
2,128(+7) 25(=)
2,128(=) 25(=)
2020-12-27
2,144(+16) 25(=)
2020-12-28
2,144(—) 25(=)
2020-12-29
2,151(+7) 25(=)
2020-12-30
2,151(—) 25(=)
2020-12-31
2,162(+11) 25(=)
2,162(=) 25(=)
2021-01-03
2,181(+19) 25(=)
2021-01-04
2,181(—) 25(=)
2021-01-05
2,186(+5) 25(=)
2021-01-06
2,186(—) 25(=)
2021-01-07
2,188(+4[c]) 25(=)
2,188(=) 25(=)
2021-01-10
2,219(+31) 25(=)
2021-01-11
2,222(+4[c]) 25(=)
2021-01-12
2,222(—) 25(=)
2021-01-13
2,228(+7[c]) 25(=)
2021-01-14
2,228(—) 25(=)
2021-01-15
2,246(+18) 25(=)
2021-01-16
2,246(—) 25(=)
2021-01-17
2,256(+10) 25(=)
2021-01-18
2,262(+6) 25(=)
2021-01-19
2,262(—) 25(=)
2021-01-20
2,267(+6[b]) 25(=)
2021-01-21
2,267(—) 25(=)
2021-01-22
2,276(+9) 25(=)
2021-01-23
2,276(—) 25(=)
2021-01-24
2,283(+7) 25(=)
2021-01-25
2,288(+5) 25(=)
2021-01-26
2,290(+2) 25(=)
2021-01-27
2,294(+4) 25(=)
2021-01-28
2,299(+5) 25(=)
2021-01-29
2,305(+6) 25(=)
2021-01-30
2,303(+1[c]) 25(=)
2021-01-31
2,304(+1) 25(=)
2021-02-01
2,303(=[c]) 25(=)
2021-02-02
2,307(+4) 25(=)
2021-02-03
2,308(+3[b][c]) 25(=)
2021-02-04
2,313(+6[c]) 25(=)
2021-02-05
2,315(+2) 25(=)
2021-02-06
2,315(—) 25(=)
2021-02-07
2,320(+5) 25(=)
2021-02-08
2,320(=) 25(=)
2021-02-09
2,322(+2) 25(=)
2021-02-10
2,324(+3[c]) 25(=)
2021-02-11
2,324(+1[c]) 25(=)
2021-02-12
2,326(+2) 25(=)
2021-02-13
2,328(+2) 25(=)
2021-02-14
2,330(+2) 25(=)
2021-02-15
2,336(+6) 25(=)
2021-02-16
2,337(=[c]) 26(+1)
2021-02-17
2,340(+3) 26(=)
2021-02-18
2,344(+4) 26(=)
2021-02-19
2,348(+4) 26(=)
2021-02-20
2,350(+2) 26(=)
2021-02-21
2,350(+1[c]) 26(=)
2021-02-22
2,357(+7) 26(=)
2021-02-23
2,363(+6) 26(=)
2021-02-24
2,365(+4[c]) 26(=)
2021-02-25
2,368(+3) 26(=)
2021-02-26
2,371(+3) 26(=)
2021-02-27
2,372(+1) 26(=)
2021-02-28
2,376(+4) 26(=)
2021-03-01
2,378(+2) 26(=)
2021-03-02
2,382(+4) 26(=)
2021-03-03
2,384(+2) 26(=)
2021-03-04
2,389(+6[c]) 26(=)
2021-03-05
2,389(=) 26(=)
2021-03-06
2,398(+9) 26(=)
2021-03-07
2,399(+1) 26(=)
2021-03-08
2,405(+6) 26(=)
2021-03-09
2,409(+4) 26(=)
2021-03-10
2,410(+1) 26(=)
2021-03-11
2,416(+6) 26(=)
2021-03-12
2,417(+1) 26(=)
2021-03-13
2,422(+5) 26(=)
2021-03-14
2,423(+1) 26(=)
2021-03-15
2,430(+7) 26(=)
2021-03-16
2,432(+2) 26(=)
2021-03-17
2,434(+3[c]) 26(=)
2021-03-18
2,434(—) 26(=)
2021-03-19
2,444(+10) 26(=)
2021-03-20
2,444(—) 26(=)
2021-03-21
2,453(+9) 26(=)
2021-03-22
2,462(+9) 26(=)
2021-03-23
2,468(+6) 26(=)
2021-03-24
2,470(+3[c]) 26(=)
2021-03-25
2,476(+6) 26(=)
2021-03-26
2,479(+3) 26(=)
2021-03-27
2,481(+2) 26(=)
2021-03-28
2,482(+1) 26(=)
2021-03-29
2,493(+11) 26(=)
2021-03-30
2,495(+2) 26(=)
2021-03-31
2,497(+2) 26(=)
2021-04-01
2,501(+5[c]) 26(=)
2,501(=) 26(=)
2021-04-04
2,507(+6) 26(=)
2021-04-05
2,507(—) 26(=)
2021-04-06
2,524(+17) 26(=)
2021-04-07
2,531(+7) 26(=)
2021-04-08
2,555(+24) 26(=)
2021-04-09
2,561(+6) 26(=)
2021-04-10
2,571(+10) 26(=)
2021-04-11
2,574(+3) 26(=)
2021-04-12
2,583(+9) 26(=)
2021-04-13
2,587(+4) 26(=)
2021-04-14
2,589(+2) 26(=)
2021-04-15
2,591(+2) 26(=)
2021-04-16
2,590(+1[c]) 26(=)
2021-04-17
2,590(=) 26(=)
2021-04-18
2,595(+5) 26(=)
2021-04-19
2,596(+2[c]) 26(=)
2021-04-20
2,597(+1) 26(=)
2021-04-21
2,599(+2) 26(=)
2021-04-22
2,600(+3[c]) 26(=)
2021-04-23
2,600(=) 26(=)
2021-04-24
2,601(+2[c]) 26(=)
2021-04-25
2,601(=) 26(=)
2021-04-26
2,601(—) 26(=)
2021-04-27
2,609(+8) 26(=)
2021-04-28
2,610(+2[c]) 26(=)
2021-04-29
2,613(+3) 26(=)
2021-04-30
2,613(=) 26(=)
2021-05-01
2,613(—) 26(=)
2021-05-02
2,618(+5) 26(=)
2021-05-03
2,622(+4) 26(=)
2021-05-04
2,623(+1) 26(=)
2021-05-05
2,629(+6) 26(=)
2021-05-06
2,633(+4) 26(=)
2021-05-07
2,634(+1) 26(=)
2021-05-08
2,640(+6) 26(=)
2021-05-09
2,642(+2) 26(=)
2021-05-10
2,644(=[b][c]) 26(=)
2021-05-11
2,643(=[c]) 26(=)
2021-05-12
2,643(+1[c]) 26(=)
2021-05-13
2,644(+1) 26(=)
2021-05-14
2,645(=[b]) 26(=)
2021-05-15
2,645(—) 26(=)
2021-05-16
2,646(+1) 26(=)
2021-05-17
2,651(+5) 26(=)
2021-05-18
2,653(+1[b]) 26(=)
2021-05-19
2,658(+6[c]) 26(=)
2021-05-20
2,659(+1) 26(=)
2021-05-21
2,662(+3) 26(=)
2021-05-22
2,662(—) 26(=)
2021-05-23
2,668(+6) 26(=)
2021-05-24
2,667(+4[c]) 26(=)
2021-05-25
2,669(+2) 26(=)
2021-05-26
2,669(=) 26(=)
2021-05-27
2,670(+1) 26(=)
2021-05-28
2,670(=) 26(=)
2021-05-29
2,670(—) 26(=)
2021-05-30
2,672(+2) 26(=)
2021-05-31
2,673(+1) 26(=)
2021-06-01
2,673(=) 26(=)
2021-06-02
2,679(+6) 26(=)
2021-06-03
2,681(+1[b][c]) 26(=)
2021-06-04
2,682(+1) 26(=)
2021-06-05
2,682(—) 26(=)
2021-06-06
2,682(+1[c]) 26(=)
2021-06-07
2,682(—) 26(=)
2021-06-08
2,692(+10) 26(=)
2021-06-09
2,696(+2[b]) 26(=)
2021-06-10
2,697(+1) 26(=)
2021-06-11
2,702(+5) 26(=)
2021-06-12
2,702(—) 26(=)
2021-06-13
2,708(+4[b]) 26(=)
2021-06-14
2,709(+1) 26(=)
2021-06-15
2,709(+1[b][c]) 26(=)
2021-06-16
2,711(+2) 26(=)
2021-06-17
2,713(+2) 26(=)
2021-06-18
2,714(+1) 26(=)
2021-06-19
2,714(—) 26(=)
2021-06-20
2,718(+4) 26(=)
Notes:
  • Sources: Official reports from the New Zealand Ministry of Health[8][9]
  • "# of cases" includes both confirmed and probable cases. The number of new cases reported for each date appears in brackets next to the total number of cases.
  • The Ministry of Health usually provides updates on case figures daily. Days in which no update is provided are denoted above with (—) next to the total number of cases.

On 28 February 2020, New Zealand confirmed its first case, a woman in her 60s who had recently visited Iran and returned to Auckland on 26 February 2020.[10][11]

New Zealand confirmed its second case on 4 March 2020, a woman in her 30s who had recently returned from northern Italy.[12] The number of cases continued to rise significantly through March 2020, reaching a total of 647 (600 confirmed and 47 probable) and 74 recoveries by 31 March.[13]

On 29 March 2020, New Zealand also reported its first coronavirus-related death, a woman in her 70s from the West Coast region.[14][15]

On 1 April 2020, 61 new cases were reported (47 confirmed and 14 probable), bringing the total to 708 (647 confirmed and 61 probable).[16] On 5 April 2020, ethnicity statistics were released; indicating that 74% of those who had contracted COVID-19 were Pākehā, 8.3% Asian, 7.6% Māori, and 3.3% Pasifika.[17] By 30 April, the total number of cases had reached 1,476 (1,129 confirmed and 347 probable) while the total number of recoveries had risen to 1,241 and the death toll to 19.[18]

On 1 May 2020, there were a total of 1,479 cases (1,132 confirmed and 347 probable) and 1,252 recoveries reported.[19] By 31 May, there were no new cases, keeping the total number at 1,504 (1,154 confirmed and 350 probable). The number of recovered had risen to 1,481 while the death toll reached 22. The last hospitalised person was also discharged on 27 May with only one active case remaining in the country by the end of the month.[20]

On 8 June 2020, the last active case was declared as recovered.[21] By 19 June, Director-General Ashley Bloomfield confirmed that a total of 327,460 tests had been conducted in New Zealand with 6,273 tested the previous day.[22] After 24 consecutive days of no new cases, two new imported cases from the United Kingdom were reported on 16 June.[23] By 30 June, there were a total of 22 active cases (all resulting from overseas travel) in New Zealand, bringing the total number to 1,528 cases (1,178 confirmed and 350 probable). The number of recovered also rose to 1,484 while the death toll has remained at 22.[24]

By 31 July 2020, there were 20 active cases (all resulting from overseas travel) in New Zealand, bringing the total number to 1,560 cases (1,210 confirmed and 350 probable). The total number of recovered had risen to 1,518 while the death toll has remained at 22.[25]

Following 102 days of no community transmissions, four such cases were reported in Auckland on 11 August 2020, putting the city back into lockdown.[26] According to 1 News, Pacific Islanders made up 75% of the cases in the August community outbreak in Auckland.[27] By 31 August, there were 131 active cases in New Zealand, bringing the total number to 1,738 (1,387 confirmed and 351 probable). The total number of recovered had reached 1,585 while the death toll remained at 22.[28] The resurgence of coronavirus also prompted Ardern to delay the 2020 New Zealand general election from 19 September to 17 October.

On 4 September 2020, after 98 days with no deaths, the country's 23rd death from COVID-19 was reported in Auckland.[29] The following day, the death of former Cook Islands prime minister Joe Williams, who was admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in August, was announced.[30] By 30 September, there were a total of 44 cases in New Zealand, bringing the total number to 1,836 (1,480 confirmed and 356 probable). The total number of recovered had reached 1,780 while the death toll had reached 25.[31]

On 21 October 2020, 25 new cases were reported, the majority of which came from foreign fishing crews who had quarantined at a hotel in Christchurch, while 2 cases of community transmission were reported among port workers, the first since 25 September.[32] By 31 October, there were a total of 75 cases in New Zealand, bringing the total number of cases to 1,957 (1,601 confirmed and 356 probable). The total number of recovered had reached 1,857 while the death toll has remained 25.[33]

On 12 November 2020, two community transmissions were linked to a Defence Force worker and a student living in the Auckland central business district.[34][35] By 30 November, there were a total of 72 active cases in New Zealand, bringing the total number of cases to 2,056 cases (1,700 confirmed and 356 probable). The total number of recovered had reached 1,959 while the death toll has remained 25.[36]

On 12 December 2020, an Air New Zealand crew member, who had earlier returned from the United States on 9 December, tested positive for COVID-19.[37] By 31 December 2020, there were a total of 55 active cases in New Zealand, bringing the total number of cases to 2,162 (1,806 confirmed and 356 probable). The total number of recovered had reached 2,082 while the death toll has remained 25.[38]

On 25 January 2021, New Zealand identified its first community spread case of COVID-19 since November 2020 on Sunday after a 56-year-old woman tested positive for the coronavirus strain that is thought to have originated in South Africa. The woman had tested positive for COVID-19 after leaving her two-week mandatory isolation following her return to the country from Europe on 30 December for work.[39][40] By 31 January, there were 71 active cases in the country (69 in managed isolation and two community transmissions), bringing the total number of cases to 2,304 (1,948 confirmed and 356 probable). The total number of recovered had reached 2,208 while the death toll remained 25.[41]

On 14 February, three community transmission cases were reported in Papatoetoe, Auckland: a mother, father and a daughter.[42] By 28 February, there were 65 active cases in the country (54 in managed isolation and 11 community transmissions), bringing the total number to 2,376 (2,020 confirmed and 356 probable). Total number of recoveries reached 2,285 while the death toll reached 26.[43]

By 31 March, there were 72 active cases in managed isolation, bringing the total number to 2,497 (2,141 confirmed and 356 probable). The number of recoveries reached 2,399 while the death toll remains 26.[44]

By 30 April 2021, there were 23 active cases in managed isolation, bringing the total number to 2,613 (2,257 confirmed and 356 probable). The number of recoveries rose to 2,564 while the death toll remains 26.[45]

New Zealand's Swiss cheese model for managing COVID-19[46]

By 31 May, there were 17 active cases in managed isolation, bringing the total number to 2,673 (2,317 confirmed and 356 probable). The number of recoveries rose to 2,630 while the death toll remains 26.[47]

Responses

Central government responses

The New Zealand Government responded to the global COVID-19 pandemic by establishing a National Health Coordination Centre (NHCC).[48] In early February 2020, the Government barred entry to most travellers from China in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic that originated Wuhan.[49] In addition, the Government sponsored several repatriation flights for returning citizens, residents, and their family members, beginning with Wuhan in February 2020.[50]

In response to rising cases from overseas travel and within the community, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern closed the country's borders to non-citizens and non-residents on 19 March 2020.[51][52] On 21 March, the Government introduced a four-tier alert level system, which placed much of the country's population and economy into lockdown from 25 March.[53][54] Due to the success of the Government's elimination strategy in reducing the spread of COVID-19, lockdown restrictions on mobility, social gatherings and economic activities were progressively lifted on 28 April,[55] 11 May,[56] 25 May,[57] and 8 June.[58] The lifting of Alert Level 1 restrictions on 8 June eliminated social distancing and lockdown restrictions but retained border restrictions.[58] On 13 May, the Government passed the controversial COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 which empowered law enforcement to enter homes and other premises without a warrant in order to enforce lockdown restrictions.[59][60]

On 11 August 2020, the Government reinstated lockdown restrictions following a second outbreak of community transmissions in Auckland.[61] Due to the reduction in community transmissions, lockdown restrictions in Auckland and the rest of New Zealand were progressively eliminated on 30 August,[62] 23 September,[63] and 7 October 2020.[64] In early November, the Government required travellers entering New Zealand to book a place in managed isolation prior to travelling to the country.[65] In mid-December 2020, the Government announced plans to establish travel bubbles with the Cook Islands and Australia in 2021.[66][67]

In early January 2021, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced that travellers from the United Kingdom and the United States would be required to take pre-departure tests prior to entering New Zealand from 15 January.[68] On 11 January, the Government extended the pre-departure test requirement to most international travellers with the exception of those from Australia, Antarctica, and some Pacific Island states.[69]

Following a community outbreak in South Auckland's Papatoetoe suburb on 14 February 2021, the Government placed an Alert Level 3 lockdown on Auckland and an Alert Level 2 lockdown over the rest of the country until 17 February.[70] On 17 February, Auckland's lockdown was lowered to Alert Level 2 while the rest of the country reverted to Alert Level 1.[71] On 22 February, the Government announced that Auckland would revert to Alert Level 1 on 22 February.[72] Following new community cases that were connected to the Auckland February cluster, the Government placed an Alert Level 3 lockdown on Auckland and an Alert Level 2 lockdown over the rest of the country commencing 28 February 2021 for the next seven days.[73]

On 1 April 2021, the Government confirmed that it would loosen rules around securing emergency spots in managed isolation. This policy shift affects New Zealand citizens and residents visiting terminally ill relatives or who had travelled overseas to visit terminally ill relatives; citizens and residents of Pacific Islands countries requiring time-critical medical treatment in New Zealand that they can't receive at home; and those facing risks to their health and safety overseas.[74][75] That same month, the Government announced that a travel bubble with Australia would come into effect on 19 April 2021.[76] In addition, a temporary ban on travel on India will come into force between 11 and 28 April in response to a high proportion of border cases originating from travellers from India.[77]

In early May 2021, the New Zealand and Cook Island governments agreed to establish a travel bubble between the two territories commencing 17 May.[78]

Genome sequencing

After there was a further outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Auckland early in August 2020, Marc Daalder writing for Newsroom noted that genome sequencing was a "new tool" in the Government's strategy to manage the pandemic. This was confirmed by Ashley Bloomfield in a press conference, saying: "we are also doing genome sequencing on all those who have tested positive and our recent cases and current cases in managed isolation and quarantine"[79][80] David Welch a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Auckland said, compared to the first outbreak when only 25 people out of approximately 1000 were sequenced, "mapping the genetic sequences of the virus from confirmed COVID-19 cases in a bid to track its spread – is now an integral part of New Zealand's coronavirus response. It is providing greater certainty in identifying clusters and helps focus the investigations of contact tracers."[81] Bloomfield said that sequencing will provide information about how the outbreak started and Dr Jemma Geoghegan, a senior lecturer in viral evolution at the University of Otago who was working on genome sequencing with the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), told Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand:

By comparing the genomes of the new cases to those from the isolation facilities as well as the global population and the other cases in New Zealand, we can begin to understand how long that chain of transmission potentially is, and likely estimate when that virus emerged and first arrived into New Zealand.[82]

In November 2020, after an Air New Zealand crew member tested positive with COVID-19, Dr Joel de Ligt, a scientist at ESR said that while he was reasonably confident the sequencing had provided a good picture of what was happening across the country, there was still a slight chance that there was something in the community not identified. Specific sequencing of the genomes of the air crew member would show whether it was linked to a New Zealand genome, or related to information from sequencing overseas, making it "more likely that it is what we call a travel-related infection, where we might start to look more in detail at the airports, or the airlines involved with the movements of a certain person."[83] Geoghegan stressed the importance of genome sequencing in cases such as returning air crew and that she had been involved in a research study that showed in-flight transmission was plausible.[84]

Local and regional governmental responses

On 20 March, the Auckland Council closed all public libraries, swimming pools, and recreational centres, including the Auckland Art Gallery and the New Zealand Maritime Museum.[85][86]

On 21 March, several local body councils in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Lower Hutt and Porirua announced the closures of public facilities including swimming pools, libraries, recreation centres, community centres, art galleries, and museums.[87][88][89][90]

On 24 March, the Auckland Council announced they were closing their campgrounds and Canterbury Regional Council announced that they would also close New Zealand Motor Caravan Association camping grounds within 48 hours.[91]

Auckland Council announced on 14 April that it was applying for special project funding for a number of infrastructure projects that had been suspended due to lockdown.[92]

On 15 April, several Otago mayors including mayor of Dunedin Aaron Hawkins, Central Otago District mayor Tim Cadogan, Queenstown Lakes District mayor Jim Boult, Clutha District mayor Bryan Cadogan, Waitaki District mayor Gary Kircher and Otago Regional Council chair Marian Hobbs were donating part of their salaries to local charities to assist with coronavirus pandemic relief efforts. In addition, several Dunedin City Council officials including chief executive Sue Bidrose announced that they were taking pay cuts to help their local communities cope with the effects of COVID-19.[93]

On 10 July, the Auckland Council announced that it was going to eliminate 500 permanent jobs as a result of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.[94]

On 27 August, Auckland councillor Efeso Collins called for the Government to grant an amnesty to people who had overstayed their visas in order to encourage members of the Pasifika community to come forward for COVID-19 tests. The Health Minister Chris Hipkins has reassured the Pasifika community that the Government would not use any information collected during testing for immigration purposes. Collins urged Pacific community leaders, church leaders and health professionals to encourage overstayers to get tested for COVID-19 without fear of repercussions.[95]

On 12 November, Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff and local health authorities have urged people in the Auckland CBD area to work from home after the discovery of a community transmission case who worked at the A-Z Collections shop on Auckland's High St in the city centre. Goff also criticised the store's owner for allegedly telling the employee to come to work while she was awaiting test results for her COVID-19 test. The store owner disputed Goff's account, explaining that the employee had called on Tuesday to say say she had a sore throat and would be visiting a doctor.[96][97] The following day, the shop worker issued a statement criticising health officials who interviewed her for not providing a Chinese language translator, causing misinformation about her prior whereabouts, actions, and contacts. As a result of this miscommunication, her employer and their families had received abusive online messages.[35][98]

Health sector responses

On 19 March, the medical recruitment company MedWorld appealed for retired and part-time doctors to assist efforts by the health sector and Government to combat the spread of COVID-19.[99][100]

On 10 June, St John New Zealand, which provides ambulance and first aid services, announced that it would be laying off staff due to a $30 million deficit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[101] The organisation had also tried to apply for the Government's wage subsidy scheme but was told that it was not eligible for it despite a 40% drop in income.[102]

On 27 August, Pasifika GP Network member Dr Api Talemaitoga announced that the Government's Testing Strategy Group would seek to ensure that members of the Māori and Pasifika communities would have fair access to testing. These measures include offering free testing, mobile testing centers and clinicians who could translate. Health authorities have also sought to reassure members of these communities that they would not lose their jobs due to contracting COVID-19.[95]

Economic impact

Two cruise ships—Celebrity Solstice and Azamara Journey—in Port Chalmers on 15 March

Up until March 2020, New Zealand ran a mixed economy – a free market with some state ownership and control.[103] Although somewhat abruptly sidelined from their normal influence within the New Zealand economy, representatives of the business sector continued to feature in media reporting: lobbying against perceived discrepancies in various industries,[104] publicising habitual evaluations such as business-confidence indicators[105][106] and economic outlooks,[107] and itching for an early return to "business as usual".[108]

On 17 September 2020, New Zealand economy officially entered into a recession, with the country's gross domestic product contracting by 12.2% in the June quarter due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The retail, accommodation, hospitality, and transportation sectors were adversely affected by the international travel ban and a strict nationwide lockdown.[109][110][111]

Social impact

Empty bread shelves at a supermarket in Wellington after panic buying
Empty bread shelves at a supermarket in Wellington after panic buying (22 March 2020)

The COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on New Zealand society, with significant implications for education, faith communities, holidays, Māori, mass gatherings, sports and recreational activities. Reports about the spread of COVID-19 led to a demand for face masks and hand sanitisers, as well as panic buying at supermarkets.[112][113][114][115]

Education

Following the spread of COVID-19 at several schools,[116][117] the Government closed all schools, early childhood centers and universities on 23 March as part of the implemention of a nationwide lockdown.[118] In addition, on 13 May, the end-of-year high school National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) external exams were postponed to mid November 2020.[60] Several universities drew criticism for continuing to charge rent to students who had returned home to their families.[119][120]

Faith communities

In response to the entry of COVID-19 into New Zealand, several faith communities announced that they would be suspending or reducing public gatherings in responds to the Government's ban on gatherings with more than 100 people.[121][122][123] Due to the closure of butcheries under Alert Level 4, members of the Muslim community faced difficulty accessing halal food.[124][125][126] When the lockdown level was first lowered to Alert Level 2 on 14 May, religious gatherings were initially limited to ten persons, which drew criticism from the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), Catholic bishops, and Bishop Brian Tamaki of Destiny Church.[127][128][129] Following criticism, the Government raised the limit on religious services from ten to 100 persons, allowing many faith communities to resume mass gatherings.[57][130][131] In September 2020, Christian leaders Pacific Response Coordination Team chairman Pakilau Manase Lua and Wesleyan Methodist minister Frank Ritchie expressed concern about misinformation relating to COVID-19 circulating among New Zealand congregants attending churches with links to conservative evangelical and Pentecostal churches in the United States.[132]

Māori

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Māori communities in the Northland, East Cape, and Bay of Plenty regions of the North Island established road blocks to limit the spread of the virus.[133][134] These checkpoints generated some communal tensions and were considered unauthorised by the Government and New Zealand Police, which challenged their authority.[135][136][137] Following a new community outbreak in Auckland in late January 2021,[138] Northland Māori including Reuben Taipari and veteran politician Hone Harawira established an unauthorised checkpoint, which was shut down by the police.[139]

Mass gatherings

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mass gatherings were discouraged to comply with social distancing measures to combat the virus. In response, the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association suspend all ANZAC Day service and red poppy collections for 2020.[140] Following the killing of George Floyd in May 2020 which sparked global protests, Black Lives Matter protests were held in several major centers including Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in early June 2020.[141][142] These protests were criticised by several health and political figures including Dr. Siouxsie Wiles, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, and ACT Party leader David Seymour for flouting social distancing restrictions.[143][144][145] In addition, anti-lockdown protests occurred between August and September 2020.[146][147][148][149]

Due to border and social distancing restrictions caused by COVID-19, several sports and recreational events including the Super Rugby season and the 2020 Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow were suspended in mid-March 2020.[150][151]

Following a new community outbreak in South Auckland in mid February 2021, the Halberg Awards were postponed to comply with Alert Level 3 restrictions on mass gatherings.[152] In addition, Napier's Art Deco Festival and Auckland's Gay Pride parade were cancelled. Auckland's Splore festival was postponed to 26–28 March 2021.[153]

Pacific Islanders

Left-wing blogger Martyn "Bomber" Bradbury has advocated that the Government declare an amnesty for overstayers and provide compensation payments to people unable to work from home in order to help the Pacific Islander communities in South Auckland.[154]

Travel

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on travel to and from New Zealand. In 2020, the New Zealand Government worked with airlines and tour agencies to repatriate New Zealanders stranded at various overseas locations including China, Peru, Australia, Uruguay, Fiji, and India.[155][156][157][158][159][160] On 24 March, the Foreign Minister Winston Peters estimated there were 80,000 New Zealanders stranded overseas, of whom 17,000 had registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's "Safe Travel" programme.[161] Following a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases in India in April 2021, many New Zealand citizens and temporary visa holders living there were stranded due to border restrictions and flight cancellations.[162][163]

The COVID-19 pandemic also affected many foreign travellers and temporary visa holders in New Zealand. Due to travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, the New Zealand Government automatically extended all temporary visas until 25 September 2020,[161] which was later extended to February 2021.[164] In addition, the Government also extended emergency welfare support including financial support for living expenses to stranded migrant workers and other temporary visa holders unable to leave Ne Zealand.[165] Despite border restrictions, the Government granted visa exemptions for certain critical and essential workers as well as people attending the trial of the Christchurch mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant and a British family seeking to sell their yacht following the death of their son.[166][167][168]

Several foreign governments including the United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark also organised charter flights to repatriate citizens stranded in New Zealand.[169][170] In addition, international airlines like Lufthansa and Qatar Airways were also involved in facilitating repatriation flights from New Zealand.[171][172] By 13 May, Foreign Minister Peters confirmed that 50,000 migrant workers had returned to their home countries following efforts by the New Zealand Government and foreign embassies to organise repatriation flights..[173]

On 9 May 2021, Radio New Zealand and Stuff reported that the Government had spent NZ$6 million to repatriate New Zealanders who had been stranded overseas at various locations including Wuhan, India and Peru since the start of the pandemic.[174] On 28 May 2021, it was also reported that the Government had spent $112,000 out of a $900,000 allocation to repatriate migrants who could not afford flight tickets back to their home countries during the pandemic. In addition, the Government had spent $11 million on attracting migrants during the pandemic. In addition, the Government had spent $242 million in February 2021 to address a deficit in immigration's visa account finances, which still left a $56 million deficit.[175]

International responses

On 8 September 2020, the Secretary-General of the World Health Organization Dr Tedros Adhanom praised New Zealand's response to the COVID-19 pandemic alongside several other countries including Cambodia, Japan, South Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Spain, and Vietnam.[176]

On 28 October, Hoover Institution senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson criticised Prime Minister Ardern's requirement that people undergoing managed isolation quarantine be tested as a condition for leaving on Fox News's The Ingraham Angle while the show's host Laura Ingraham likened MIQ facilities to coronavirus "quarantine camps".[177] Hanson and Laura Ingraham drew coverage from New Zealand media commentators including The Spinoff's Alex Braee, who compared their remarks to former United Kingdom Independence Party politician Suzanne Evans' remarks likening New Zealand's lockdown policies to Nazi Germany.[178] Newshub's Jamie Ensor responded that Ingraham's comments lacked context, explaining that the camps were actually lavish hotels and motels.[179]

Court rulings

On 4 May 2020, a High Court judge allowed a man who had travelled from the United Kingdom to visit his dying father, overruling the Government's strict lockdown orders including a 14-day quarantine period for all overseas travellers. In response, Prime Minister Ardern asked Health Minister David Clark to review 24 cases where health authorities blocked requests by individuals to see their dying relatives on health grounds.[180][181] As a result of the Government's review, a woman was granted exemption from the mandatory 14-day quarantine to visit her 59 year old terminally ill mother.[182]

On 19 August, the Wellington High Court ruled that the Government's message to stay at home at the start of the Alert Level 4 lockdown for nine days between 26 March and 3 April was justified but unlawful and contrary to the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. A law change on 3 April made the lockdown legal. The High Court's ruling had come in response to a legal challenge mounted by lawyer Andrew Borrowdale. The Attorney General David Parker has defended the Government's handling of the lockdown and not ruled out an appeal against the ruling.[183][184]

Vaccinations efforts

On 12 October 2020, the New Zealand Government signed an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech to buy 1.5 million COVID-19 batches of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, the Government established a fund of $66.3 million to support a COVID-19 immunisation programme.[185]

On 3 February 2021, the Government formally authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in New Zealand. The vaccine will be limited to people aged 16 years and over.[186] On 20 February, 100 nurses became the first people in New Zealand to receive the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Healthcare workers, essential workers and those most at risk will be vaccinated in the second quarter of the year. The general population will be vaccinated in the second half of the year.[187]

Vaccine rollout

COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan[188]
Order Priority group Number eligible (estimated) Progress
Group 1
1a Border/MIQ workforce 15,000 In Progress
1b Families and household contacts 40,000
Group 2
2a Frontline healthcare workers (non-border) who could be exposed to COVID-19 while providing care 57,000
2b Frontline healthcare workers who may expose vulnerable people to COVID-19 183,000
2b At-risk people living in settings with a high risk of transmission or exposure to COVID-19 234,000
2b New Zealand Defence Force 10000 [189]
Group 3
3a People aged 75+ 317,000 In Progress
3b People aged 65+ 432,000
3c People with underlying health conditions or disabilities 730,000
Group 4
4 The remainder of the population 2 million Begins July 28[190]
Other Groups
New Zealand Olympic Team 200[191] In Progress

The following reasons for overseas travel are eligible to be considered for an early vaccine:[192]

  • access critical medical care that is not available in New Zealand for yourself or your dependant
  • to visit an immediate family member who is dying
  • to provide critical care and protection for a dependant eg, your child.
  • to protect the safety and security of New Zealand’s right to govern itself
  • for Government-approved humanitarian efforts as part of New Zealand’s commitments to foreign aid, international disaster responses, or supporting Pacific and Realm countries' recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • to participate in major international events where travel is necessary to represent New Zealand
  • for nationally significant trade negotiations.

Public opinion

Government response approval

An Utting Research poll conducted on 1–2 March 2020 found that 47% of respondents were satisfied with the government's overall response to the COVID-19 outbreak, with 34% unsatisfied and 19% unsure.[193] A subsequent poll conducted on 21–22 March, prior to the lockdown announcement, found that 62% of respondents were satisfied with the response.[194] However, 37% were not confident a large-scale outbreak could be prevented in New Zealand, with 26% confident and 36% unsure.[194]

A Newshub–Reid Research poll conducted from 8 to 16 May 2020 asked whether it was "the right call" to implement the March–April nationwide Level 4 stay-at-home order. 91.6% responded "yes", 6% "no" and 2.5% "don't know".[195]

On 9 August, a Horizon Research poll found that trust in the Ministry of Health and Government's ability to manage the COVID-19 pandemic was 82%, down from 91% in April 2020. The poll also found that 64% of New Zealanders still "totally" trusted the Government and Ministry of Health, down from 75% in April.[196]

A poll by Stickybeak for The Spinoff on 16–17 February 2021 found that 79% of people rated the government's response as "excellent" or "good" overall while 12% of people rated it "bad" or "terrible". Similarly, 79% of people approved of the decision to move Auckland to Alert Level 3 on 14 February while 12% opposed, and 67% supported moving the rest of the country to Level 2 while 19% opposed.[197]

Date Polling organisation Sample size Approve Disapprove Unsure Lead
16–17 Feb 2021 The Spinoff–Stickybeak 601 79 12 10 57
14–19 Jul 2020 Horizon Poll 1,762 82 17 1 65
16–20 May 2020 Colmar Brunton 1,003 92 7 2 85
20–21 April 2020 Colmar Brunton 601 87 8 5 79
3–5 April 2020 Colmar Brunton 601 84 9 6 75
21–22 March 2020 Utting Research/Stuff 3,133 62 22 16 40
1–2 March 2020 Utting Research/Stuff 1,900 47 37 16 10
8–12 February 2020 Colmar Brunton 1,004 62 25 12 37

Media perception

The New Zealand Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic was covered by both national and international media, which praised Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's leadership and swift response to the outbreak.[198][199] The Washington Post's Fifield described her regular use of interviews, press conferences and social media as a "masterclass in crisis communication."[200] In addition, Alastair Campbell, a journalist and adviser in Tony Blair's British government, commended Ardern for addressing both the human and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.[201] Following the 2020 New Zealand general election, The Observer's Roy and Graham-McLay attributed the Sixth Labour Government's landslide election victory to Ardern's "deft handling" of the COVID-19 pandemic and "resolute belief" in science and experts.[202]

Due to the large viewing of the daily 1 pm press briefings, the actions of and lines of questioning from journalists came under scrutiny from the public, with many criticising repetitive or aggressive lines of questioning and "gotcha" accusations. Stuff journalist Thomas Coughlan replied that the criticism "seemed to come from nowhere" and these actions are "really the way it's always been", saying that the methodology has only come into question due to the large viewership of the press conferences.[203] Television producer Robyn Patterson, writing for Newsroom, commented that the "aggressive stance of some local journalists ... is leading to a public backlash", which "elevates the anxiety levels of an already distressed public and creates deep unease". She noted that a 2019 Griffith University study of journalistic best practice recommended that journalists consider the needs of those impacted by disastrous events or else they risk to cause more harm than good.[204]

In late April, Bloomberg's COVID Resilience Ranking ranked New Zealand as the second best place to be during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving a score of 79.6. While New Zealand has no community cases, slower vaccination rates had caused the country to drop in the ranking by 0.1 points. Singapore presently ranks first in the COVID Resilience Ranking, with a score of 79.7. As of 27 April 2021, 1.9% of New Zealand's population has been vaccinated.[205][206]

Long-term effects

In April 2020, the New Zealand Treasury projected that the country could experience an unemployment rate of 13.5% if the country remained in lockdown for four weeks, with a range of between 17.5% and 26% if the lockdown was extended.[207] Prior to the lockdown, the unemployment rate was at 4.2%.[208] Finance Minister Grant Robertson vowed that the Government would keep the unemployment rate below 10%.[209]

In the second quarter of 2020, unemployment fell 0.2 percentage points to 4 percent; however, the under-utilization rate (a measure of spare capacity in the labor market) rose to a record 12 percent, up 1.6 percentage points from the previous quarter, and working hours fell by 10 percent.[210]

National GDP contracted 1.6% in the first quarter of 2020.[211] The country officially entered a recession in September after Statistics New Zealand reported a GDP contraction of 12.2% in the second quarter of 2020.[212] The second-quarter contraction was led by a 47.4% contraction in accommodation and food and beverage services, a 38.7% contraction in transport, postal and warehousing, and a 25.8% contraction in construction.[213] GDP rebounded 14.0% in the third quarter of 2020.[214]

On 4 November 2020, Statistics New Zealand reported that the unemployment rate had risen to 5.3% as a result of COVID-19, with the number of unemployed increasing by 37,000 to reach 151,000.[215]

Alert level system

On 21 March 2020, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the introduction of a country-wide alert level system, similar to the existing fire warning systems. There are four levels, with 1 being the least risk of infection and 4 the highest. At the time of the announcement, New Zealand was at level 2. Each level brings added restrictions on activities or movements. Each region can have an individual alert level based on the severity of their own infections, and these levels can be changed at any time.[216][53]

At the time of Ardern's announcement, New Zealand was at alert level 2.[217] Ardern announced on 23 March that, effective immediately, New Zealand would be at alert level 3, moving to level 4 at 11:59 pm on 25 March.[218] On 20 April, Ardern announced that New Zealand would move to alert level 3 at 11:59 pm on 27 April, with businesses and schools being allowed to have employees enter the premises during the last week of alert level 4 to prepare the facility for the transition to alert level 3.[219]

The country remained at alert level 3 for at least two weeks, with the decision of whether to move down to level 2 made on 11 May.[220] On 11 May, it was announced that New Zealand would enter alert level 2 from 11:59 pm on 13 May, lifting lockdown restrictions while maintaining physical distancing in public and for private gatherings with more than ten people.[56] On 8 June, Ardern announced that the country would enter alert level 1 at 11:59 pm that night, lifting the remaining restrictions.[221]

After new cases of community transmission were detected on 11 August, New Zealand was moved to alert level 2 and Auckland to level 3 at noon on 12 August;[222] Auckland moved down to level "2.5", a modified version of level 2 with further limitations on public gatherings and mandated mask wearing on public transport, at 11:59 pm on 30 August.[223] New Zealand moved to level 1 on 21 September at 11:59 pm while Auckland moved to level 2 on 23 September at 11:59 pm.[63] Auckland moved down to level 1 on 7 October at 11:59 pm.[64]

On 14 February 2021, after the new community cases were detected in Auckland, Auckland moved to alert level 3 at 11:59 pm, while the rest of New Zealand moved to alert level 2.[224] Auckland moved down a level to alert level 2, while the rest of New Zealand moved to alert level one, at 11:59 pm on 17 February.[225] Auckland moved down to level 1 on 22 February at 11:59 pm.[226] Auckland moved up to level 3, while the rest of New Zealand moved to level 2 on 28 February at 6:00 am.[73] Auckland moved down to level 2, while the rest of New Zealand moved to level 1 at 6:00 am on 7 March.[227] On 12 March, Auckland moved back to level 1 at midday.[228]

Timeline

Date Alert level
New Zealand Auckland Region
21 March 2020 2
23 March 2020 Negative increase 3
26 March 2020 Negative increase 4
28 April 2020 Positive decrease 3
14 May 2020 Positive decrease 2
9 June 2020 Positive decrease 1
12 August 2020 Negative increase 2 Negative increase 3
31 August 2020 Steady 2 Positive decrease 2.5
22 September 2020 Positive decrease 1 Steady 2.5
24 September 2020 Steady 1 Positive decrease 2
7 October 2020 Steady 1 Positive decrease 1
15 February 2021 Negative increase 2 Negative increase 3
18 February 2021 Positive decrease 1 Positive decrease 2
23 February 2021 Steady 1 Positive decrease 1
28 February 2021 Negative increase 2 Negative increase 3
7 March 2021 Positive decrease 1 Positive decrease 2
12 March 2021 Steady 1 Positive decrease 1

Alert levels

Alert levels are cumulative – each level includes the restrictions of the level below it. The levels are as follows:[229]

Level 1 – Prepare
COVID-19 is uncontrolled overseas. The disease is contained in New Zealand and there are sporadic imported cases, but isolated household transmission could be occurring.
  • Border entry measures to minimise risk of importing COVID-19 cases.
  • Intensive testing for COVID-19.
  • Rapid contact tracing of any positive case.
  • People arriving in New Zealand without symptoms of COVID-19 go into a managed isolation facility for at least 14 days.[230]
  • People arriving in New Zealand with symptoms of COVID-19 or who test positive after arrival go into a quarantine facility and are unable to leave their room for at least 14 days.[230]
  • Mandatory self-isolation may be applied.
  • Schools and workplaces are open, and must operate safely.
  • No restrictions on personal movement or gatherings.
  • Stay home if you are sick, report flu-like symptoms.
  • Wash and dry hands, cough into elbow, do not touch your face.
  • No restrictions on domestic transport – avoid public transport or travel if sick.
  • Businesses and public transport must display QR codes to allow for contact tracing.
Level 2 – Reduce
The disease is contained, but the risk of community transmission remains. Household transmission could be occurring, and there are single or isolated cluster outbreaks.
  • People can connect with friends and family, go shopping, or travel domestically, but should follow public health guidance.
  • Physical distancing of two metres from people you do not know when out in public is recommended, with one metre physical distancing in controlled environments like workplaces unless other measures are in place.
  • No more than 100 people at indoor or outdoor gatherings (subject to any lower limit, e.g. fire regulations).
  • Sport and recreation activities are allowed, subject to conditions on gatherings, contact tracing, and – where practical – physical distancing.
  • Public venues can open but must comply with public health measures.
  • Health and disability care services operate as normally as possible.
  • Businesses can open to the public, but must follow public health guidance including in relation to physical distancing and contact tracing. Alternative ways of working encouraged where possible (e.g. remote working, shift-based working, physical distancing, staggering meal breaks, flexible leave).
  • Schools, early childhood education and tertiary education providers can open with appropriate public health measures in place.
  • People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well controlled, and seniors) are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home. They may work, if they agree with their employer that they can do so safely.
  • Face coverings are required on public transport and aircraft, but not school buses or Cook Strait ferries. Children under 12 are exempt along with passengers in taxis or rideshare services and people with disabilities or mental health conditions.
Level 3 – Restrict
There is a high risk the disease is not contained. Community transmission might be happening. New clusters may emerge but can be controlled through testing and contact tracing.
  • People instructed to stay home in their support bubble other than for essential personal movement – including to go to work, school if they have to or for local recreation.
  • Physical distancing of two metres outside home (including on public transport), or one metre In controlled environments like schools and workplaces.
  • People must stay within their immediate household bubble, but can expand this to reconnect with close family / whānau, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people. This extended bubble should remain exclusive.
  • Schools (years 1 to 10) and Early Childhood Education centres can safely open, but will have limited capacity. Children should learn at home if possible.
  • People must work from home unless that is not possible.
  • Businesses can open premises, but cannot physically interact with customers.
  • Low risk local recreation activities are allowed.
  • Public venues are closed (e.g. libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, markets).
  • Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Physical distancing and public health measures must be maintained.
  • Healthcare services use virtual, non-contact consultations where possible.
  • Inter-regional travel is highly limited (e.g. for essential workers, with limited exemptions for others).
  • People at high risk of severe illness (older people and those with existing medical conditions) are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home. They may choose to continue to work.
Level 4 – Eliminate
It is likely the disease is not contained. Sustained and intensive community transmission is occurring, and there are widespread outbreaks and new clusters.
  • People must stay at home (in their bubble) other than for essential personal movement.
  • Safe recreational activity is allowed in local area.
  • Travel is severely limited.
  • All gatherings cancelled and all public venues closed.
  • Businesses closed except for essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, petrol stations) and lifeline utilities.
  • Educational facilities closed.
  • Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities possible.
  • Reprioritisation of healthcare services.

Essential services

Supermarket staff behind protective screens and wearing gloves on 31 March 2020

The "essential services" referenced in alert level 4 include:[231][232][233]

  • Accommodation
    • Any entity that provides accommodation services for essential workers, isolation/quarantine, and emergency housing
    • Retirement villages
  • Border
  • Building and construction
    • Any entity involved in building and construction related to essential services and critical infrastructure, including those in the supply and support chain
    • Any entity involved in any work required to address immediate health or life safety risks, or to prevent serious environmental harm, and relevant essential supply chain elements
    • Any entity with statutory responsibilities or that is involved in building and resource consenting necessary for the above purposes
  • Courts, tribunals and the justice system
  • Education
    • Any entity or individual determined by the Secretary for Education as required to provide distance or online learning (e.g. printers, devices, IT)
  • Fast-moving community goods
    • Any entity involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods essential for maintaining the wellbeing of people
  • Financial services
    • Any entity that operates consumer and business financial services, financial services infrastructure (including banking services), a stock exchange, broking services, payment and settlement systems, funds management (including KiwiSaver), insurance services, financial advice, and support services such as administrators, supervisors and custodians
  • Health
    • District health boards (and all of their facilities), Pharmac, New Zealand Blood Service, Health Promotion Agency, Health Quality and Safety Commission
    • Any person employed or contracted as a doctor, nurse, midwife, pharmacist, paramedic, medical laboratory scientists, kaiāwhina workers, social workers, aged-care and community workers, and caregivers more generally
    • Hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies, medical laboratories, care facilities (e.g. rest homes)
    • Emergency dental and optometry care services
    • Any entity providing ambulance services
    • Any entity involved with the deceased/tūpāpaku (e.g. funeral homes, crematoria, cemeteries)
    • Any entity producing health sector equipment, medicines and personal protective equipment
  • Local and national government
    • Any entity involved in COVID-19 response, enforcement, planning or logistics or that has civil-defence/emergency management functions (including any entity that supplies services for these purposes)
    • Key public services
  • Foreign government
    • Maintaining critical operations at foreign missions based in New Zealand.
  • Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing
    • Any entity involved in the packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products, whether for domestic consumption or export
    • Any entity involved in relevant support services, such as food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions
    • Any entity providing veterinary services
    • Any entity whose closure would jeopardise the maintenance of animal health or welfare standards (including the short-term survival of a species)
  • Public safety and national security
  • Science
    • ESR, GNS Science, GeoNet, NIWA, MetService
    • Any entity (including research organisations) involved in COVID-19 response
    • Any entity (including research organisations) involved in hazard monitoring and resilience
    • Any entity (including research organisations) involved in diagnostics for essential services like biosecurity, public health
    • Laboratories and Physical Containment Level 3 (PC3) facilities that could provide essential services and products that could be used to respond to COVID-19
    • Other significant research facilities including animal facilities, clinical trials and infrastructure that require constant attention (e.g. samples, collections and storage facilities) that are important to New Zealand
  • Social services
  • Transport and logistics
    • Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Customs Service, NZ Transport Agency, Civil Aviation Authority (including Aviation Security Service), Maritime New Zealand (including the Rescue Coordination Centre), Airways NZ, MetService, KiwiRail (including Interislander), and any entity that is contracted by these entities
    • Any entity that provides, or is contracted to an entity that provides, logistics services, including New Zealand Post and courier services
    • Any entity providing, or is contracted by an entity that provides, transport services to the Ministry of Health, a District Health Board, a Medical Officer of Health, or a Controller (as defined in section 4 of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002)
    • Any entity that provides services related to the maintenance and ongoing operation of critical infrastructure (e.g. roads, rail, ports, airports)
    • Any entity that operates or is contracted by a lifeline utility, an aerodrome, a passenger and/or freight aviation service, a passenger and/or freight shipping service, a road freight service, a rail freight service, a vehicle recovery service; or a public transport service (under contract with a Regional Council)
    • Any small passenger-service vehicle driver (who holds the relevant licence) such as ride-share or taxi drivers
    • Any entity providing services to keep vehicles operational for essential work purposes (e.g. vehicle testing, mechanics, tyre services)
  • Utilities and communications, including supply chains
    • Any entity involved in the production, supply, sale distribution or disposal of electricity, gas, water, waste water (e.g. sanitation), waste (e.g. rubbish collection and recycling), liquid and solid fuel, telecommunication services, and any entity that is contracted by these entities
    • The delivery of solid fuels (including firewood, pellets and coal) for immediate needs (e.g. home heating) or fulfilling existing orders, is an essential service.
    • News (including news production) and broadcast media
    • Internet service providers
    • Any entity that provides maintenance and repair services for utilities and communications, including supply chains
    • Any entity supplying services to an essential workplace that are required for the safe operation of that workplace (e.g. cleaning, security services)
    • Commercial cleaners that clean common areas of apartment buildings may continue to operate where there is high traffic (e.g. lifts, stairwells)
  • Additional decisions and exemptions
    • All supermarkets and dairies are considered an essential service. A supermarket's primary focus is selling food products, and is a retail store operating on a self-service basis, selling groceries, fresh produce, meat, bakery and dairy products, and sometimes an assortment of non-food goods. Dairies must operate a "one-in-one-out" rule, and cannot sell cooked food.
    • Essential consumer products other than food (e.g. blankets, heaters, kitchenware and appliances, whiteware, computer equipment and mobile phones) may be sold subject to conditions. If a business cannot meet these conditions, it must not offer goods for sale.
    • Food delivery other than cooked prepared meals such as takeaways is allowed (e.g. supermarket home delivery, food parcels from charitable organisations, subscription food boxes, or any other whole-food delivery service). Meals-on-Wheels may continue to deliver prepared food. Ordering, payment and delivery must be contactless and the business must operate safely within the general health guidelines such as physical separation and hygiene.
    • Locksmiths can undertake essential work on emergency call-outs and essential activity to maintain the security of premises/personal properties.
    • Turf maintenance is not considered an essential service and should not be undertaken at this time.
    • Pet care services are not considered to be essential, except where necessary to maintain existing boarding of animals in pet care, or for long-term care when no other alternatives are available.
    • Vehicle washing services must only be undertaken when supporting essential services to ensure they are complying with the necessary health and safety requirements (e.g. washing off contaminated or biohazard materials).
    • Road safety equipment for road construction should only be used only where maintenance is essential.
    • Farmers markets are not considered to be an essential service, as alternatives are available
    • Liquor stores must close to the public unless they are within monopoly Licensing Trust areas (i.e. West Auckland, Gore and Invercargill), in which case they can operate with a one-in-one-out rule.
    • Pest management may be undertaken only where required for human health and safety, and it is essential. However, operators must ensure people have somewhere safe to go while the process is underway, in particular where a property is being vacated
    • Campgrounds and backpacker accommodation providers may continue to operate under very strict protocols and management of access. (e.g. contact to be maintained only with people staying in the same abode/room; common social and recreation areas to be closed; split shift access to common areas)
    • Butchers, bakeries and similar small-scale food retailers are considered non-essential, as similar products are readily available in supermarkets.
    • Natural health services are considered non-essential.
    • Security is considered an essential service, even if security services are being provided in relation to a premise for a non-essential service.
    • Self-storage facilities can operate only to facilitate access for essentials. New sales or expiries of units are considered non-essential. Access to existing lockers is permitted for essential items or services only, e.g. fridges
    • Critical support services to ensure businesses and workers can continue working from home are considered to be essential. This includes functions such as IT and Payroll.
    • Every restaurant, café and bar must close all aspects of their operation.
    • Self-service laundries can stay open, with 2-metre physical distancing to be enforced.
    • Bunnings, Placemakers, Mitre 10 and other retailers essential to the supply chain for building and construction can stay open to trade customers for essential purposes only.
    • The Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter is exempt from closure, due to the long and complicated process of closing and restarting the potlines.[234]
    • New Zealand Steel is to shut down in a way that allows for production to recommence easily.
    • Pulp and paper plants (e.g. Tasman, Kinleith) are to shut down their non-essential elements in a way that allows for production to recommence easily, and while maintaining essential production.
    • Methanex can remain in production, but at a scale consistent with the stability of gas supply.

Lockdown violations

After New Zealand entered into a level 4 alert lockdown on 25 March 2020, there were several reports of people violating lockdown rules by congregating in crowds. On 1 April, Ardern described 20–29 year olds as the most vulnerable demographic to COVID-19 and called on them to comply with lockdown requirements.[235][236]

On 2 April, there were reports of beachgoers congregating in Auckland's Herne Bay, and Dunedin. Police have visited beachgoers, warning them to comply with the lockdown, while health authorities have warned about the risk of spreading the coronavirus and prolonging the lockdown.[237] In Otago, there have been reports of people jumping off the Albert Town Bridge near Wanaka.[clarification needed][238] In Auckland, Tongan ethnic community leaders have also warned that kava clubs are still meeting despite the lockdown, with some participants posting photos and videos on social media.[239] In Kaitaia, there have been reports of locals taking matters into their own hands by establishing checkpoints to enforce the lockdown.[240]

In early April, Health Minister David Clark was criticised for flouting official guidelines against non-essential travel after he drove to a Dunedin park two kilometres away from his home to ride a mountain bike trail. Clark later apologised to Prime Minister Ardern for not setting a good example to the public.[241][242][243] Later, Clark admitted that he had driven his family twenty kilometres to a nearby beach in Dunedin for a walk during the first week in lockdown. Clark offered his resignation to Prime Minister Ardern, who turned it down due to his role in leading the Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, she stripped Clark of his ministerial portfolio as Associate Finance Minister and demoted him to the bottom of Labour's Cabinet list.[244]

In early April, a Christchurch man was arrested by police after posting a Facebook video of himself deliberately coughing and sneezing on customers at a FreshChoice supermarket. Ardern warned that people would be arrested for deliberately coughing on others.[245][246] The man pleaded guilty to a charge of offensive behaviour in the Christchurch District Court. He received a negative test for COVID-19. The man later apologised for his actions.[247][248]

On 7 April, it was reported that the New Zealand Police had recorded 291 breaches under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 and the Health Act 1956. Of these, 263 people had been issued with warnings for breaking lockdown rules, 12 had received a youth referral, and 16 were facing charges. Clark, who was disciplined by the prime minister for violating lockdown requirements, was not listed among the 291 breaches reported.[249][250] On 8 April, the Police Commissioner Andrew Coster updated the figures to 367 breaches including 45 prosecutions, 309 warnings, and 13 youth referrals. Coster also reported that police were dealing with 37,000 breaches, mainly by businesses.[251]

On 21 April, a Queenstown man was sentenced to a concurrent sentence of one month imprisonment and two weeks' imprisonment for breaching lockdown restrictions and damaging a stainless steel toilet.[252] In Auckland, a 32-year-old woman who allegedly spat at Auckland Transport staff on a train was charged with assault under the Crimes Act 1961. Auckland Transport has reported of incidents of stopping people trying to travel from outlying suburbs like Henderson and Takanini to shop in the city centre and groups of young people travelling on trains for non-essential reasons.[253]

On 3 May, it was reported that Police had received 1,200 reports of people breaching alert level 3 restrictions. 686 of these reports were filed between 6 pm on 1 May and 6pm on 2 May. Police confirmed that they had taken enforcement action against 514 people for breaches of either the Health Act or the Civil Defence Emergency Act since alert level 3 came into force on midnight 28 April, prosecuting 135 and warning 342.[254] Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Scott Fraser also announced that they had to close down hundreds of parties in the past few days since the alert level 3 lockdown came into force. He warned that illegal public gatherings would "waste all the sacrifices" others had to make to beat COVID-19.[255]

On 18 May, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster confirmed that the Police had received 250 reports of illegal mass gatherings in the four days since alert level 2 came into effect on 14 May. These included 30 reports of people holding or attending illegal parties; 29 of which resulted in a warning and one in a prosecution.[256]

Leaks and misinformation

In early July 2020, National Party MP Hamish Walker admitted leaking the private details of COVID-19 patients to the media.[257] Former National Party President Michelle Boag had passed Walker the information in her capacity as chief executive of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.[258] Walker was stripped of his portfolios and later announced that he would not be contesting the 2020 general election.[259] Boag, who also admitted leaking similar information to National MP Michael Woodhouse, subsequently resigned from her position with the Helicopter Trust and her membership of the National Party.[260]

On 18 August 2020, managed isolation and quarantine deputy chief executive Megan Main confirmed that a First Security guard had leaked information about the names, room numbers, and travel itineraries of returnees staying in managed isolation at Auckland's Sheraton Four Points managed isolation facility on Snapchat. Main apologised for the returnees' privacy breach. She also confirmed that the guard had been removed from duty at the hotel and that First Security was conducting an employment investigation into the guard.[261] That same day, The New Zealand Herald reported that a man had admitted spreading a rumor on Reddit that a recent outbreak of community transmissions in Auckland in mid-August had been caused by a family member supposedly entering a managed isolation facility. This rumor was dismissed by health authorities.[262]

In February 2021 the Chinese consulate in Auckland was affected by a phony bomb threat made by individuals on an events website Aucklife that they had hacked where they also made similar threats against the Chinese consulate in Sydney, Australia. Their motive was reportedly a punitive response against China for allegedly causing the pandemic. As a result, a physical search was conducted at the consulate by New Zealand's Police Specialist Search Group while Aucklife owner Hailey Newton had since regained her access to the website.[263]

In mid-March 2021, The New Zealand Herald reported that a COVID-19 denial group called "Voices of Freedom" had teamed up with the Advance New Zealand party to distribute a magazine called The Real News promoting conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines, generally repeating discredited internet-based sources.[264] The Real News is published by Full Courts Press director and shareholder Jonathan Eisen and his wife Katherine Smith, whose company has published the pseudoscientific The New Zealand Journal of Natural Medicine and the conspiracy theory–promoting Uncensored magazine. By 12 March, at least 60,000 copies of the magazine had been distributed into postboxes.[265] By May 2021, Voices for Freedom and the Advance New Zealand party had raised NZ$10,000 to print and distribute 60,000 copies of The Real News.[266] In late April, a second issue of The Real News was circulated. [267]

In mid-May 2021, Voices for Freedom co-founder Claire Deeks claimed that her organisation had raised NZ$50,000 towards printing two million virus "fact flyers" which it intended to distribute nationwide. In response, University of Otago clinical microbiologist and immunologist James Ussher criticised the flayers for spreading disinformation about the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and undermining public trust. Meanwhile, lawyer Mark von Dadelszen cautioned against donating to Voices for Freedom since it was neither a registered charity nor an incorporated society with a formal structure.[266]

Support bubble

The support bubble concept

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand launched the support bubble concept.[268] A bubble is defined as a group of people with whom they have close physical contact. People in a bubble do not have to practice social distancing from others within the same bubble. The entire bubble counts as one household.[269][270][271]

Testing

Requirements

In early March 2020, there were concerns about COVID-19 tests being given only to people with symptoms who had returned from impacted countries or people who had been in contact with a confirmed case.[272] Some people with symptoms but who did not fit these categories were not tested.[273]

The case definition for qualifying for a COVID-19 test is having "any acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following symptoms: cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, coryza, [or] anosmia with or without fever."[274]

The previous case definition for testing from 14 March to 3 April was meeting at least one of the following criteria:[275]

  • symptoms (fever or cough or shortness of breath or sore throat) and travel history
  • symptoms (fever or cough or shortness of breath or sore throat) and close or causal contact with a suspect, probable or confirmed case
  • healthcare workers with pneumonia
  • people treated in intensive care units for severe respiratory illnesses

For cases not fitting this case definition doctors are encouraged to use their own judgement whether to test the patient or not.[276]

On 18 August, Newshub reported that a senior quarantine official had revealed that quarantine workers had requested a regular testing "regime" multiple times but their concerns were ignored. While Prime Minister Ardern had initially claimed that some workers were reluctant, Health Minister Chris Hipkins acknowledged that he was aware that the testing of border staff was incomplete during a briefing, stating that "they should not have been declined tests." Opposition Leader Judith Collins criticised the Government's handling of the issue.[277]

Results

As of 15 December 2020, there have been 1,344,192 tests completed in total,[1] with a positivity rate of 0.13%. As of 27 September 2020, the ethnic group with the highest rate of testing is Pacific, with 27.5% of that population being tested, followed by Māori with 15.9%, European/MELAA/Other with 13.9%, and finally Asian with 12.1%,[d] out of 746,478 people in total,[279] or 14.9% of the New Zealand population of 4,996,000.[280]

Starting from 16 April 2020, random voluntary community testing took place in select supermarkets around the country to provide information on whether there still existed community transmission of the virus.[281][282] This testing resulted in no positive results out of 1000 people by 20 April.[283][clarification needed]

Following the reporting of two new community transmissions in Auckland, there were reports of long queues outside testing centres in Auckland and the Northland Region.[284]

On 19 March 2021, Newshub reported that scientists had traced two COVID-19 cases who had tested positive following their stay in managed in isolation to unventilated spaces in the doorway of their hotel corridor at their managed isolation facility in Christchurch.[285]

Statistics

Cases

As of 20 June 2021, New Zealand has 2,718 cases (2,362 confirmed and 356 probable cases) of COVID-19.[1] Based on the national population estimate of 4,966,000[280] this gives the country 368.9 confirmed cases per million population (440.6 confirmed and probable cases per million population).

Confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases by gender as of 20 June 2021.[286]

  Female (50.44%)
  Male (49.56%)

Confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases by ethnicity as of 20 June 2021.[286]

  Māori (7.69%)
  Pacific (7.36%)
  Asian (24.87%)
  MELAA (4.89%)
  European or other (54.67%)
  Unknown (0.52%)

Broken down by district health board (DHB) as of 20 June 2021:[1]

DHB Cases
Total Deaths Recoveries Active
Auckland 226 1 225 0
Bay of Plenty 48 48 0
Canterbury 168 12 156 0
Capital and Coast 96 2 94 0
Counties Manukau 232 1 231 0
Hawke's Bay 44 44 0
Hutt Valley 24 24 0
Lakes 16 16 0
MidCentral 33 33 0
Nelson Marlborough 49 49 0
Northland 28 28 0
South Canterbury 17 17 0
Southern 218 2 216 0
Tairāwhiti 4 4 0
Taranaki 16 16 0
Waikato 195 2 193 0
Wairarapa 8 8 0
Waitematā 300 4 296 0
West Coast 5 1 4 0
Whanganui 9 9 0
Managed isolation & quarantine 982 1 959 22
New Zealand 2,718 26 2,670 22

No cases have been reported in the Chatham Islands,[287] Stewart Island,[citation needed] New Zealand's associated states (Cook Islands, Niue) or the dependent territory of Tokelau.[288]

During the lockdown, overall weekly deaths declined in New Zealand compared to previous years.[289] The decline is thought to be linked to a reduction in deaths from traffic collisions, air pollution, work injuries, respiratory tract infections, and elective surgery.[289]

Clusters

Oyster Cove, the venue of the Bluff wedding at Stirling Point
Rosewood Rest Home in Christchurch, the cluster with the greatest number of deaths

As of 20 June 2021, the Ministry of Health had identified 19 significant clusters of at least ten confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases.

There is currently no active significant cluster in New Zealand.[290]

The following clusters have been closed. A cluster is considered closed when there have been no new cases for two incubation periods (i.e. 28 days) from the date when all cases complete isolation.[290]

All 12 of the Canterbury DHB deaths were cases within the Rosewood Rest Home cluster. This cluster accounts for nearly half of the country's total death toll from COVID-19.

Progression of COVID-19

Progression of COVID-19 cases in New Zealand:[296]

                    Cases        Recovered        Hospitalised        Deaths        Active Cases[e]

The same graph in semi-log plot form:

                    Cases        Recovered        Hospitalised        Deaths        Active Cases

New cases and fatalities

New COVID-19 cases (confirmed and probable) and deaths in New Zealand:[296]

New cases per day

New deaths per day

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ A probable case is one without a positive laboratory result, but which is treated like a confirmed case based on its exposure history and clinical symptoms.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m The total number of cases reported on these dates includes historical cases that were already considered recovered. Therefore, the number of new, active cases (in brackets) reported does not equal the increase in total cases (compared with the total number from the previous date).[8]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af One or more previously confirmed cases were reclassified, either as being "under investigation" as suspected historical cases, or as being previously recorded historical cases, or as not being actual cases at all. These cases were thus removed from the total number of reported cases. Therefore, the number of new, active cases (in brackets) reported on these dates does not equal the increase in total cases (compared with the total number from the previous date).[8]
  4. ^ The testing data is reported with prioritised ethnicity. If a person has multiple ethnicities, they are reported only as a single ethnicity with the following order of precedence: Māori, Pacific, Asian, Middle Eastern/Latin American/African, Other, European. This is in contrast to total response ethnicity, where a person with multiple ethnicities is reported under all ethnic groups they identify with.[278]
  5. ^ The number of active cases is the number of total confirmed and probable cases minus the number of recoveries and deaths.

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External links