40 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

Media release

24 March 2020

There are 40 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand as at 10 am this morning.

We also have 3 new probable cases. In these cases, the person has returned a negative laboratory result, but the clinician treating the person has diagnosed them as a probable case due to their exposure history and clinical symptoms.

These cases are treated as if they were a positive laboratory confirmed case and the actions taken are the same as for confirmed cases, that is self-isolation and active contact tracing. 

Therefore, our combined total of confirmed and probable cases is 155.  We will now report the total combined confirmed and probable cases each day.

More details of the new cases, including the probable cases, will be provided via our website shortly and updated as new details emerge.

There are 12 cases that we can confirm are recovered.  We will be updating this number also on a daily basis.

Our laboratories are working to process and clear test results as quickly as possible.

Anyone who has been tested is expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test.

So far, we have information on around one third of the cases reported today and all of those have a link to overseas travel, including being in the same household as someone who has returned from overseas, or they have attended a known event where transmission was occurring (eg, World Hereford cattle conference in Queenstown recently) or are close contacts of a confirmed case.

Recent travel from overseas is still the main driver of our new infections.  Anybody who has recently travelled from overseas should already be in strict self-isolation.  Close household contacts should be particularly vigilant for any symptoms they may develop.

At this point we are classifying four cases as community transmission – three in Auckland and one in Wairarapa. In these cases, we have been unable to confirm a definite link to overseas travel or to an existing confirmed case. Contact tracing is underway for all cases.

We continue to look carefully at all new cases as more information is reported by public health services.

More than 900 laboratory tests were carried out yesterday, bringing the total number of completed tests to over 8300.

We continue to test people who need to be tested.

As you will all be aware, we are preparing to move to Alert level 4. There is a clear consensus that the sooner we do this the better and this gives New Zealand our best chance of breaking the chain of community transmission. This will require all our efforts and I strongly urge all New Zealanders to play their part.

Media contact

Peter Abernethy
021 366 111

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