WELLINGTON, 28 MAY 2020 (RNZ) — There have been no new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today, but the death toll has risen to 22 to include a woman who died after recovering from the coronavirus.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there are only eight active cases in the country and there is still nobody receiving hospital care for the coronavirus.

The eight active cases include five in Waitematā, two in Auckland, and one in Counties Manukau District Health Boards.

Dr Bloomfield said the death toll now included Eileen Hunter, a resident of St Margaret’s rest home who died on Sunday and whose family believed had died of Covid-19, despite her having been considered recovered.

He said Hunter had Covid-19 in mid-April who was sent to North Shore Hospital for care. Once recovered, with two negative test results, she returned to the rest home.

“It’s important to note that Eileen was regarded to having recovered from Covid-19 at the time of her death, and Covid-19 is not recorded as the primary cause of her death on her death certificate.

“However, after consideration, we have decided to include Eileen’s death in our overall tally of Covid-19-related deaths, consistent with our inclusive approach to date, so we have a good idea of the full impact of this condition on our health and well-being in New Zealand.”

The announcement of a further death from an earlier infection today showed the coronavirus had a long tail, he said.

“It shows just how long the impact of this disease can be there, and we have also seen that some people are testing positively quite a long way after they might have been originally infected.”

He said there were 4255 tests were carried out yesterday and there had been 271,690 tests in total processed in New Zealand.

Dr Bloomfield said a second wave was still a possibility in New Zealand for “a number of months”, and the WHO had reminded countries to be cautious about relaxing restrictions.

“So we need to continue the hard work we’ve all put in to ensure we continue to maintain our zero cases, our ongoing downward trajectory, and that we don’t allow a second peak to occur.

“So heading into the coming long weekend, stay safe and well.”

Eradication of the coronavirus has to be a global effort, Dr Bloomfield said.

“It’s very hard for New Zealand to say we’re on a pathway to eradicate a virus that clearly is still incredibly prevalent and growing in prevalence offshore.

“We are very interested in opening up our borders more and more and in that case, elimination remains the strategy, because it’s going to be a prolonged effort,” he said…PACNEWS