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COVID-19 Timeline

Tracking key events in NZ and international milestones

2019 ⇒

December 2019

  • 1 December Cases of unknown pneumonia surface in Wuhan, China
  • 31 December (International) New virus reported to World Health Organisation

2020 ⇒

January 2020

  • 15 January (International) First case reported outside of China (Thailand)
  • 24 January (International) Cases reported in Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan,  Hong Kong, Macau, Canada, France, and the United         States                                                                                                                                                                                                                (International) Virus confirmed to be transmissible
  • 25 January (International) First three cases confirmed in Australia
  • 28 January Ministry of Health sets up National Health Coordination Centre (NHCC)
  • 30 January Infectious & Notifiable Diseases Order issued, requiring health practitioners to report any suspected cases

February 2020


  • 3 February       Government announces that foreign travellers who left from China would be denied entry to New Zealand, with only New Zealand citizens and permanent residents and their family being allowed to enter. Foreigners who left China and spent at least 14 days in another country are permitted to enter New Zealand.
  • 7 February       Ministry of Health set up a dedicated Healthline freephone number  for COVID-19-related calls.
  • 8 February       2 New Zealanders aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan are confirmed to have the virus
  • 11 February     (International) WHO names the new disease COVID-19, short for coronavirus disease 2019                                                        (International) Total deaths exceed that of the SARS outbreak of 2002-2004
  • 17 February     (International) First person outside of Asia dies (Chinese tourist in France)
  • 24 February     Ban on foreign travellers who left from China extended by eight days
  • 28 February     First confirmed case in New Zealand                                                                                                                                              Government extends travel restrictions to include travellers from Iran


  • 1 Case
  • 0 Deaths


March 2020

  • 2 March           Government announces any person who has visited northern Italy or South Korea must self-isolate for 14 days
  • 4-7 March        Second, third, fourth, and fifth cases confirmed (daily increases from there), including first person-to-person transmission in New Zealand
  • 10 March         (International) Italy goes on national lockdown
  • 11 March         (International) WHO declares an official global pandemic
  • 12 March         (International) United States suspends travel from Europe
  • 14 March         New Zealand starts announcing new cases daily, and that anyone arriving in the country must self-isolate for 14 days (save those from the Pacific)
  • 16 March         Prime Minister announces that any tourists that don’t self-isolate for 14 days will be deported                                                                  Air New Zealand halts share trading                                                                                                                                                                  Reserve Bank announces emergency cut of the Official Cash rate
  • 17 March         New Zealand Government announces $12.1 billion economic assistance package, including a $500 million boost for health, $8.7 billion in support for businesses and jobs, and $2.8 billion for income support.
  • 18 March         20 confirmed cases
  • 19 March         28 confirmed cases                                                                                                                                                                                      All indoor gatherings of more than 100 people are cancelled                                                                                                                            New Zealand Government closes the borders to everyone but citizens and permanent residents (first time in history)
  • 20 March         39 confirmed cases
  • 21 March         52 confirmed cases                                                                                                                                                                                   Prime Minister announces the new alert level system and that the country was moving to level 2
  • 22 March         66 confirmed cases
  • 23 March         102 confirmed cases (including first two cases of community transmission)                                                                                             Prime Minister announced country would, effective immediately (1.40pm) enter alert level 3, and that after Wednesday the          country would go into alert level 4 for at a minimum 4 weeks
  • 24 March         155 confirmed cases
  • 25 March         205 confirmed and probable cases                                                                                                                                              National State of Emergency declared at 12.21pm in Parliament                                                                                                                                       Country entered alert level 4 at 11.59pm
  • 29 March         First NZ coronavirus-related death reported


  • 205 Cases
  • 23 777 Tests
  • 1 Death



  • 16 Clusters


April 2020

  • 2-5 April          NZ peak level of new cases reached (89)
  • 3 April             (International) One million cases recorded worldwide                                                                                                                  Finance Minister announces changes to the Companies Act to help struggling businesses
  • 5 April             Ethnicity statistics are released on the cases
  • 6 April             (International) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hospitalised
  • 7 April             First time the number of active cases dropped (recoveries outnumbered new cases)
  • 9 April             Compulsory 2 week quarantine for New Zealanders arriving the country announced, to commence by end of the day
  • 15 April           (International) Two million cases recorded worldwide
  • 13-19 April      Death toll rose to 12
  • 18 April           (International) WHO releases data on cases by age and sex
  • 20 April           Prime Minister announced that the country would drop down to alert level 3 at 11.59pm on 27 April, and that the plan was to remain at level 3 for a minimum of 2 weeks, with a decision made on 11 May on whether to drop to level 2
  • 27 April           (International) Global death toll surpasses 200,000 and cases are expected to soon break 3 million

                                    Country moves to alert level 3 at 11.59pm, 19 deaths.


  • 205 Cases
  •  139 898 Tests
  • 19 Deaths


May 2020

  • 4 May              First day in New Zealand where the reported new cases were 0 (this was repeated the follow day, May 5th)
  • 9 May              (International) Globally, the number of cases passes 4 million, with a death toll of 282,000. New Zealand’s death toll is at 21.
  • 11 May            The Prime Minister announces that a staggered move into Alert Level 2 will occur from 14 May
  • 14 May            New Zealand enters Alert Level 2 with no new cases (the same as on May 12 & 13) and deaths remaining at 21.                           $50 billion recovery package is announced as part of Budget 2020.
  • 15 May            (International) more than 4.75 million cases worldwide, more than 316,000 deaths, and more than 1.75 million have recovered.
  • 17 May            One new case of COVID-19 is reported in New Zealand, 45 active cases, with 1433 people having recovered and 21 deaths

  • 22 May            One new case of COVID-19 is reported in New Zealand
  • 24 May            New Zealand’s death toll rises to 22.
  • 29 May            7 days in a row with no new cases in New Zealand, and one active case remaining


  • 1504 cases
  • 1503 recovered
  • 294 848 tests
  • 22 deaths


June 2020

  • 3 June              12 days in a row with no new cases in New Zealand, one active case remaining

Globally, nearly 6 & a half million recorded cases has been reached, with nearly 400 thousand deaths associated with COVID-19

  • 8 June              The one active case in New Zealand is announced as having recovered, and with no new cases for 17 days, New Zealand is declared COVID-19 free.

The Prime Minister announces that Alert Level 1 (normalcy, but with closed international borders and contact tracing) will begin at midnight.

  • 9 June              Alert Level 1 begins in New Zealand.
  • 16 June            After 24 days with zero new cases, Health Minister David Clark suspends compassionate exemptions for quarantined travellers, after two women who had been granted such to leave quarantine early (to attend a funeral) test positive. In days following, further information about the two women emerges, leading the Prime Minister to describe the release as a “failure of the system”
  • 22 June            Total number of active cases is nine, all in managed isolation after arriving in the country. Prime Minister announces that in order to leave managed isolation, people would need to test negative. Ban on cruise ships extended beyond 30 June.
  • 24 June            Announcement made that 51 of the 55 people granted early leave on compassionate grounds from managed isolation had not been tested at the time for COVID-19.
  • 27 June            Announcement made
  • 29 June            Total cases in New Zealand reaches 22, all returnees to New Zealand in managed isolation. Face-masks become mandatory for returnees in managed isolation.
  •                         Globally, the total number of cases tops 10 million, with more than 500,000 deaths (1 million new cases with recorded in the 6 days prior to 29 June)
  • 30 June            Victorian Government in Australia re-established local lockdowns across 10 different postcodes in Melbourne after a cluster of new cases emerges.

July 2020

  • 2 July               Health Minister David Clark resigns from his portfolio, following criticism of his leadership and actions (Chris Hipkins takes over as interim Health Minister, and Megan Woods takes over responsibility for Border Management)
  • 4 July               An additional 2 postcodes and 9 public housing towers are added to the Melbourne lockdown
  • 6 July               127 new cases reported in Melbourne. Victorian and NSW governments announce interstate border will close from 8 July.
  • 7 July               NZ Government asks Air NZ and Singapore Airlines to manage international bookings to ensure NZ managed isolation facilities are not overwhelmed. Air NZ announces over 5 thousand people were booked to travel back to NZ in the following three weeks
  • 191 new cases reported in Melbourne, the Victorian Premiere announces that the entirety of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire would re-enter lockdown for a minimum of 6 weeks from 9 July.
  • 12 July             25 active cases in New Zealand, all in managed isolation, no community transmission cases.
  • Globally almost 13 million cases have been confirmed, with nearly 570,000 deaths. The US has over 3 million cases, with more than 135,000 deaths, and is the most affected country on Earth. Then follows Brazil, India, Russia, Peru, Chile, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
  • 15 July             NZ Prime Minister releases government’s COVID-19 response framework in case of a community-transmission outbreak in NZ, involving regional and localised lockdowns, based on similar plans in Victoria, NSW, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea.
  • 19 July             Announcement that face-coverings are to be mandatory in Melbourne from July 22
  • 23 July             403 new cases in 24 hours announced in Victoria, with a total of 7,125 active cases in the state
  • 29 July             NZ announcement made that some travellers entering New Zealand would have to pay for their 14-day managed isolation. Those impacted would be those who left NZ after the rules came into effect, those who intend to stay in NZ for less than 90 days, and most temporary visa holders (with some exceptions). Most New Zealanders returning home would remain exempt however.
  • 30 July             723 new cases in 24 hours announced in Victoria, with a total of 9,998 active cases in the state

August 2020

  • 2 August          A state of disaster was declared in Victoria, including a curfew in Melbourne from 8pm to 5am. Victoria was to institute regional stage 3 restrictions, with Melbourne at stage 4.
  • 4 August          The number of active cases in New Zealand is 22 (all in managed isolation, arrivals from overseas)
  • 5 August          725 new cases in 24 hours announced in Victoria, with a total of 13,035 active cases in the state
  •                         Data released from StatsNZ showed that in the June quarter labour market statistics for NZ, of the 11,000 people who were no longer   in paid employment (employment fell 0.4%) 10,000 were women (91%).   

NZ Data as of 15 July 2020

16 July 2020

Number of confirmed cases in New Zealand 1,198 1
Number of probable cases 350 0
Number of confirmed and probable cases 1,548 1
Number of recovered cases 1,499 1
Number of deaths 22 0
Number of active cases 27 0
Number of cases currently in hospital 0 0
  Tests Date
Total tested yesterday 2,899 15 July 2020
7-day rolling average 2,011 9 July to 15 July 2020
Total tested to date 436,223 22 January to 15 July 2020
Supplies in stock* 286,478 16 July 2020
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