Govt gears for Coronavirus pandemic


The government gears up to deliver a full-scale pandemic plan as the first case in New Zealand has been indentified.

The news than a traveller from Iran had tested as having the virus came after the Minister of Health Hon Dr David Clark and the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield provided an update on the response to COVID-19. 

The Minister said the government was ramping up its efforts to prevent the virus from coming to New Zealand, saying the government was determined to "act nimbly" in the interest of citizens.

The Ministry of Health is confident the public risk from this new infection is being well managed because of the public messaging, awareness of COVID-19 disease and our public health response to managing cases and contacts.

The patient confirmed with COVID-19 is being treated in Auckland City Hospital. They are in an improving condition in isolation, in a negative pressure room to prevent any spread of the disease.

Household contacts are in isolation as a precautionary measure.

Public health officials have begun tracing the patient’s other close contacts to ensure appropriate protection measures are in place, including on the flight involved which originated in Tehran and came via Bali.

A technical advisory committee has provided advice that China should remain a category one country as far as the virus was concerned, and government ministers had been to include Iran in that status, Dr Bloomfield said.

He said New Zealand's reaction to the Coronavirus was based around the existing pandemic plan that included actions across the health system and the government.


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 News and information from Rotorua

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