Wellington Scoop

Covid-19 – 85 new cases, national total now 368 (42 in Wellington)

There have been 85 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, 76 confirmed and nine probable.

The Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says there have now been 368 cases in New Zealand. Forty-two cases are in the Wellington area, and eleven in the Hutt Valley.

From the NZ total, eight people are in hospital – six are stable and two are not.

One is these is in intensive care in Nelson Hospital and has been there for several days, before deteriorating in the past 24 hours. Dr Bloomfield said that person was on a ventilator and had underlying health conditions.

The other person not in a stable condition is in Wellington Regional Hospital. Dr Bloomfield said this person is still in the ward, and is not on a ventilator, but the condition was “not quite so stable”. There are two other patients in Wellington Hospital, and one other in Nelson Hospital.

Thirty-seven patients have made a full recovery. Those who have recovered from Covid-19 are signed off by a health official after being symptom free for a 14 day period.

Asked about the cluster of patients who were guests at a Wellington wedding, Dr Bloomfield said there was a link with overseas travel. Wellington’s second cluster had a similar link – friends who had returned from a trip to New York.

More than 2500 retired health workers have now signed up to help with the Covid-19 response.

News from Ministry of Health
There remains a lot of interest in supplies of personal protective equipment.

We are providing updated advice to health professionals around when and how to use PPE for dealing with COVID-19 to keep themselves safe. This will be on our website as draft today and finalised on Monday.

Part of that advice is about when health professionals don’t need to use PPE. The advice also covers PPE for other essential workers – and about when that is required.

We have a national pandemic PPE stockpile and individual DHBs have their own dedicated supplies.

In the Ministry of Health national reserve and stores held in reserve by DHBs we have:

1.9 million aprons and gowns
2.7 million pairs of gloves
60,000 sets of eye protection.

In addition, there are 18 million masks held in the national reserve and 5.1 million held in reserve by DHBs.

The Ministry is exploring all existing and a range of new avenues to ensure we maintain our stocks.

Our actions underpin the importance of protecting our health workers and those working in essential services have access to PPE. It is already available for health workers and it’s important there is work to ensure a supply to essential workers.

Response to Call for Assistance

There’s been an excellent response to our call for retired health professionals prepared to come back to help with the COVID-19 response – more than 2500 have registered and that number continues to grow.

As well as retired workers we have had interest from people who are not currently working in clinical roles (ie those on maternity leave, or those who are not providing essential services) about assisting with the COVID-19 response.

Healthcare workers and employers will from today be able to register their availability on the Ministry of Health website and we will then match them to roles that need to be filled in the sector.

These are unprecedented times for New Zealand and other countries around the globe. We are all in this together. We will expect the number of cases to keep increasing for now. If we all do our bit, and we break the chain of transmission, slow the spread of COVID-19 and we will be able to get on top of this.

Report from RNZ
Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black while most people were complying with the lockdown, there were several incidents of people gathering and police responded to those. She said these measures are the best thing New Zealanders could do to break the chain of infections.

“We know that things are really tough right now, especially for people living with mental illness.”

She recommended sticking to a regular routine including exercise.


  1. TrevorH, 28. March 2020, 10:11

    Two weeks ago I drew attention through Wellington.Scoop to the presence of the cruise ship Ruby Princess in our port. I was greatly concerned that 3000 passengers were being allowed to roam around the city. It is now reported more than 140 cases of COVID 19 have subsequently been confirmed among passengers on that ship. I have a question. Who allowed the passengers to disembark in Wellington? Was that decision a Council responsibility or a national government one? [It was the responsibility of the Ministry of Health, which advises: While in Wellington, there were a small number of passengers on board at the time with flu-like symptoms, and five passengers were tested in Wellington for COVID-19 on March 14. These people never left the ship in Wellington. The results from those tests were negative.]

  2. TrevorH, 28. March 2020, 14:25

    Thank you for providing the advice from the Ministry of Health. It appears any screening or testing was inadequate given the subsequent confirmation of a large number of passengers being infected. It was reported the vessel had earlier been denied permission to land passengers at Dunedin and Akaroa. If this is correct does it mean those port authorities did not follow Health Department advice? Perhaps they used common sense?

  3. Neil Douglas, 28. March 2020, 16:27

    TrevorH – The same question is being asked in Sydney where the Ruby Princess ended its cruise and 2,700 passengers were allowed to rejoin the community with a release of 133 COV-19 cases into the community. The cruise industry is going to face a steep uphill battle to regain public confidence.


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