Novel Coronavirus update

posted: 7:00 pm - 9th February 2020
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As we watch the numbers of cases in China of the novel coronavirus increase exponentially every day, there is growing angst among communities.  This update briefs us about what measures are being taken and what is happening currently throughout New Zealand with regards to the virus. 

There have been 24,550 confirmed cases of Novel coronavirus globally, 490 deaths within mainland China, one death in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong. 

The number of confirmed cases continues to rise with increased confirmation of human to human transmissions in several countries. 

Enhanced border measures continue in New Zealand at this time and the Border Working Group are evaluating the current status of the coronavirus outbreak and getting feedback from the Ministries engaged in executing these measures. 

While there have been some delays due to the manual entry evaluation being performed at the border, overall travellers are being processed as efficiently as possible. 

The enhanced border measures will be evaluated every 48 hours through the Border Working Group, reviewing the status of the outbreak and providing advice to the Government. 

The measures currently in place are:

  • All travellers who have left from or transited through mainland China will be denied entry to New Zealand;
  • New Zealand citizens including those from the three Countries of the Realm (Tokelau, Niue and the Cooks Islands), permanent residents and their immediate family are excluded from this restriction;
  • Air crews who have been using appropriate PPE are excluded from this restriction.

Nearly 200 people including children have been transported from Wuhan to Auckland. 

From those transported, 98 are New Zealand citizens or permanent residents, 23 were Australian citizens and the remaining 69 were predominantly from Pacific countries.

The Australian citizens were transferred to a flight to Australia upon arrive in Auckland.  The remaining passengers were transported to Whangaparaoa Reception Centre to begin their 14 days of isolation.

There has been Ministries-wide cooperation in the preparation to receive the passengers, providing the best care and response to the needs of the passengers while they are in isolation.Family, friends and support groups will be able to drop off letters, packages and other forms of support at the local police station in Orewa. 

Samoa continues to maintain a firm approach to protecting its borders and is discouraging all non-essential overseas travel by public servants, in particular to China.  Samoa continues maintain strict travel restrictions to all inbound travellers to the nation with the following restrictions:

  • All travellers to Samoa are required to undergo a medical clearance at least 3 days prior to travel to the island nation;
  • All travellers to Samoa from coronavirus countries must spend at least 14 days in a country free of the virus and undergo a medical clearance prior to travel to Samoa.

 The Cook Islands has issued a travel advisory stating, “Persons intending to travel to the Cook Islands who have been in China within the last 14 days prior to travel will be denied entry into the Cook Islands. In addition, all Cook Islanders and residents of the Cook Islands should avoid non-essential travel to China.” 

Health Advice provided by the Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health continues to impress that all persons should follow the guidelines:

  • Regularly washing hands; 
  • Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze; 
  • Staying home if you are sick; 
  • Avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms; 
  • If you fee unwell you should avoid public gatherings and events.

For more information please visit the Ministry of Health’s website at health.govt.nz/coronavirus  including daily updates on the status of the outbreak and the Government’s response.  

The Ministry of Health will continue to provide regular updates and we will deliver information as quickly as possible if we do have a confirmed case. Find more information via: https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/news-items 

The Ministry has also launched a Facebook page to initially help circulate more information about coronavirus. https://www.facebook.com/minhealthnz