No new COVID-19 cases in NZ for sixth day

Ben McKay
PM Jacinda Ardern (L) says she put the small number of cases in NZ down to "public health practice"

For the sixth straight day, New Zealand has recorded no new cases of coronavirus.

The South Pacific nation has recorded just five positive tests, with two probable cases, with no infected Kiwis requiring hospitalisation for the virus.

The small number of cases has allowed health officials to trace all close contacts of known COVID-19 cases.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she put the small number of cases down to "public health practice".

"That is not to say we won't have more cases. We will," she said.

"Not every country contact traces in the way that we are.

"Some people may have their scepticism about self-isolation but it is one of the most effective public health tools that we have."

New Zealand has enforced a travel ban on China and Iran, and is asking arrivals from South Korea and Italy to quarantine themselves for 14 days on arrival.

Ms Ardern has not followed the US or Australia in implementing further travel bans but said "we've seen a rapidly changing global environment. We need to be responsive to that.

"I'm going to follow the best public health advice we have so I'm not ruling anything out."

Pasifika, a major festival for the Pacific community to be held in Auckland, has been cancelled because of the widespread travel participants need to undertake.

Sunday's national remembrance service to mark a year since the mosque shootings in Christchurch will go ahead as planned.

Ms Ardern said the decision was prompted by the lack of any confirmed cases from community transmission to date.

"Please stay home if you're unwell," Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.

"Our key advice, which is fundamental to our response, is not putting yourself or others at risk if you are unwell.

"This means not going to work or going to places where there are other people if you are sick."