Auckland, April 7, 2020
While the number of new cases reported every day appears to be registering a decline, a large of New Zealanders expected to return home over the next couple of weeks may pose a risk and hence must be properly addressed.
This is the view of the public writing on social platforms and expressed in talkback shows.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern indicated that those returning home will be subject to strict regulations under Alert 4 to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“I don’t think anyone knows how many New Zealanders are travelling abroad. We continue to monitor. We have been warning New Zealanders that we will be tightening our borders. It is now absolutely necessary,” she said.
For New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, this is their home and they have a right of entry. But we have to be careful to make sure that they do not bring in the virus, she added.
“We have consular assistance and provide financial assistance to those in need on a case-by-case basis,” Ms Ardern said.
#LIVE Update on the COVID-19 response
Posted by Jacinda Ardern on Monday, April 6, 2020
She said that there were three major areas of importance for containing Covid-19. These include border restrictions, contact tracing and general quarantine.
Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said that today’s tally was 32 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 22 new probable cases. There are no additional deaths to report.
“There are now 241 reported cases which we can confirm have recovered. The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 1160 – this is 54 more than yesterday. We are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel (42%), as well as links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (41%) including those in clusters we already know about and community transmission (2%). The ethnicity breakdown of the confirmed cases is European or other 73.3%; Asian 8.5%; Unknown 6.9%; Māori 7.8%; Pacific peoples 3.4%,” he said.
Dr Bloomfield said that thus far 42,826 tests have been carried out.
“Our test capacity continues to increase and we have supplies in stock for nearly 44,000 tests. We expect to have between 50,000 to 60,000 complete tests in stock by the end of the week. We have 50,000 nasal swabs in stock and we are expecting 250,000 more from a local supplier within the next 3-4 weeks,” he said.
He said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has provided updated advice on mask use, particularly by the general public.
“The WHO does not recommend the use of medical masks by the general public except in particular circumstances, where someone is sick and wearing a mask protects others or when someone is caring for a sick person and the mask can help protect them. Under Alert Level 4 people can access essential and necessary medical care. Where needed that includes being able to travel both locally and across regions to access appropriate treatments,” Dr Bloomfield said.
If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, please call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline anytime from anywhere in New Zealand on 0800-3585453 or on +64-09-3585453 (for international SIMs) or call your GP. Please do not show up at any medical centre.