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Nationally and locally authorities continue to actively manage the threat posed by the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

At the weekend, the Government extended the temporary restrictions on travel from China to New Zealand for a further eight days.

The extension is a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus.

The restrictions prevent foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China to New Zealand.

New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family returning to New Zealand from China will still be able to, but are being told to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Ministry of Health is encouraging anyone who has not yet registered as a result of their travel to China, to do so. This will help ensure they can regularly check on people’s welfare and wellbeing while they are in self-isolation, while supporting New Zealand’s overall response to novel coronavirus.

Healthline's dedicated COVID-19 number, 0800 358 5453, is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide advice on the Coronavirus, travel restrictions and other matters.

Meanwhile, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa’s Dynaspeak English language facility in Auckland has been closed to walk-in enrolments.

Instead, all enrolments are now taking place via the website or phone. At this point all kamahi are working towards February 24 semester start, until notified otherwise.

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa will keep kaimahi and tauira updated with further information as required.

General health-related advice:

COVID-19 is spread by people coughing or sneezing, close personal contact and coming into contact with an object or surface with viral particles on it (then touching your mouth, nose or eyes).

So practicing good hygiene, regularly washing your hands, and practicing good cough etiquette (maintaining distance, covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing and washing hands) is really important in keeping yourself and the community safe.

The risk of an ongoing outbreak in New Zealand remains low but the Ministry of Health is monitoring the situation closely. If any public health measures are needed for this virus, they will advise.

As mentioned above, health advice is available at 0800 358 5453 – it is free and on tap 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or for international SIMs +64 9 358 5453.

People calling that line will be able to talk with a member of the National Telehealth Service. They have access to interpreters.

Advice about self-isolation

The ministry has updated its self-isolation guidance.

It is working with border agencies to ensure recent arrivals from mainland China are aware of the need to self-isolate and register for health checks through the new Healthline service.

For people arriving or transiting through mainland China we ask that they:

  • Please register their details with Healthline within 24 hours of arrival
  • Self-isolate for 14 days

Please register your details with Healthline while you are in New Zealand. This must include your personal mobile number. We are doing this to provide you with health support while you are in New Zealand.

Self-isolation means avoiding situations where you could infect other people. This means all situations where you may come into contact with others, such as: social gatherings, work, school, child care/pre-school centres, university, faith-based gatherings, aged care and healthcare facilities, prisons, sports gatherings, supermarkets, restaurants, shopping malls, and all public gatherings.

If you are a visitor to New Zealand, this means you should avoid sitting in a restaurant, participating in any type of tour group, or using public transport, including flights, buses, and trains between cities in New Zealand.

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa readiness:

At Te Wānanga o Aotearoa we remain ready for an escalation of the Coronavirus situation in New Zealand.

We do need to be alert for the possibility it will arrive here, affecting both kaimahi and tauira.

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has developed a specific plan outlining measures we’ll take if needed. See the link below for details.

We ask kaimahi and tauira to follow this general advice:

  • The main symptoms of the Coronavirus are high fever, headache, muscle aches and pains, fatigue, cough, sore throat and shallow breathing/loss of breath.
  • The method of infection is the same as getting a cold – contact with infected people, animals or contaminated surfaces.
  • So, people should concentrate on personal protection measures such as good hand washing/drying and covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze, ideally with a tissue that should be disposed of safely. Wash hands regularly with soap or antiseptic hand wash. Dry hands thoroughly using a disposable towel.
  • Go home if you are coughing or sneezing more than normal.
  • Also, as with any pandemic threat, it is worth having on hand a week’s supply for you and the whānau of anti-bacterial wipes, latex/non-latex gloves, breathing mask, paracetamol, medical supplies, tissues and food.

Cultural protocols for greetings, noho and other times where larger numbers may hui in a confined space may need to be reviewed. However, this would only occur in a serious outbreak situation. Ultimately taking the same precautions as you would normally do around measles, mumps and the flu will help keep you safe.

Seek advice from your doctor if you’re unwell while the Coronavirus line mentioned above is also available. The Ministry of Health website has a good amount of information which you may find helpful -

Should this year’s class start dates need to be changed we will contact people closer to the time.

In the meantime, stay as healthy as you can, follow the health advice from medical authorities and be ready to ramp up your response for you and your whānau if needed.

Click here to view our Coronavirus Pandemic Planning Document 2020.

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Published On: 17 Feb, 2020

Article By: Stephen Ward

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