No new cases of COVID-19 21 May

Today there are no new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

That means our total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 remains at 1,153, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

Our combined total of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1,503.

Today we have recorded 97% of all confirmed and probable cases as having recovered from COVID-19, an increase of five on yesterday, for a total of 1,452.

There are no additional deaths to report.

There is one person receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19; they are in Middlemore and are not in the ICU.

Yesterday our laboratories completed 6,113 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 244,838.

Influenza vaccines

New Zealanders are encouraged to get their flu vaccine, especially as the weather starts to get colder.

We had a record number of 1.76 million Southern Hemisphere vaccines this year and that is now open to everyone, however we are still asking immunisation providers to make sure they hold enough stock for priority groups such as pregnant women, older people and those with pre-existing conditions.

The Ministry of Health and Pharmac have also successfully secured 360,000 Northern Hemisphere vaccines which will be available for providers to order this week.

The Northern Hemisphere vaccine contains two of the same strains of influenza vaccine as the usual vaccines used in New Zealand this year, and one that is closely related.

Funerals and tangihanga

Since we moved into Alert Level 2 just over a week ago there has been the ability for funerals and tangihanga to have up to 50 people where funeral directors can demonstrate that appropriate public health measures are in place.

Funeral directors register these funerals or tangihanga with the Ministry. Since the beginning of Alert Level 2 there have been 650 funerals or tangihanga registered – though separate services at a church and a crematorium for the same person may count as two events.

The Ministry is very aware of the importance of families, friends and whānau being able to gather together to grieve, and that is supported by the large number of registrations.

NZ COVID Tracer app

The Ministry continues to be encouraged by the number of Kiwis who have downloaded NZ COVID Tracer – we have now recorded 240,000 registrations.

We want as many people as possible to download the app – it will help us identify, trace, test and isolate any cases of COVID-19. The faster we can do these steps the less likely it is the virus can spread in our communities.

It is also really important that businesses are going through the steps to get their unique QR code that people can use to record having been there. We have now recorded 6,800 QR codes generated by businesses.

The Ministry has now published a draft data standard and supporting specifications for NZ COVID Tracer. These will support developers of other contact tracing apps to use the NZ COVID Tracer QR codes.

This means there will be no need for people to see multiple QR codes at one location, provided other apps choose to adopt the NZ COVID Tracer standard.

The Ministry has already been in touch with the software vendors we engaged with on the standard and specifications to direct them to the published documents, which are available on our website

Yesterday some New Zealanders were having trouble locating the app in the Google Play Store – the Ministry has worked with Google to ensure the app can be found more easily.

Updates to the app went out last night which included fixes for bugs that are very normal for any new app to have when it is first released.

And just to be clear on privacy:

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