Four more people have died from Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing the death toll to nine.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed the sad news today in the Ministry of Health's daily press conference.
Three of the new deaths are in residents of Christchurch's Rosewood Rest Home - two men in their 90s and one man in his 80s. Six of the nine total deaths are connected to the rest home. All of those six people who've died had underlying health conditions.
"They are already frail, they have low reserves to be able to fight off these sorts of infections so that's why we are seeing them highly represented in the fatalities," Dr Bloomfield said.
The additional death confirmed today was a man in his 70s in Wellington. The case was linked to overseas travel and the man was admitted to hospital on March 22.
Today was the biggest jump in Covid-19 deaths in New Zealand so far during the pandemic.
The four deaths confirmed today follow five earlier Covid-19 deaths in New Zealand. They were a woman in her 70s on the West Coast, a woman in her 90s in Christchurch, a man in his 70s in Christchurch, a man in his 80s in Wellington and a man in his 80s in Christchurch.
Today, there were 17 new coronavirus cases in New Zealand announced, bringing the total number of infections to 1366.
The new cases are made up of eight confirmed cases and nine probable cases.
There are now 15 people in hospitals throughout the country, with three people in intensive care in Middlemore, Dunedin and North Shore hospitals. The person in Dunedin is in a critical condition.
Now, 628 people have recovered from Covid-19 in New Zealand, an increase of 82 on yesterday.
Dr Bloomfield said recovered cases now "firmly dominate" over new cases in New Zealand.
Of the total cases, 48 per cent are close contacts of existing cases, 39 per cent are linked to overseas travel and two per cent are community transmission. The remainder are still being investigated.
Yesterday there was a drop-off in tests carried out - just 1572. The rolling seven day average of tests is 3039 per day. In total, 64,399 tests have been carried out in New Zealand.
Dr Bloomfield said the drop-off in testing has also been seen in Australia.