New Zealand’s Ardern keeps schools open, urges limits on movement

Clay Curtis
March 24, 2020

Dr Bloomfield said two key planks underpinned New Zealand's public health response.

New Zealand reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases of the disease to 53.

French Polynesia and Guam are among the hardest hit island countries in the Pacific, although COVID-19 cases have also been recorded in Fiji and New Caledonia.

Most of these cases are travel-related but as yet, in at least two instances, no link to overseas travel has been ascertained and we are continuing to investigate.

"The majority of our people are working remotely, global and domestic travel and all public events have been cancelled, our people in business-critical teams are working in a split team structure from different locations, and we have increased cleaning and hygiene protocols in place across our sites".

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged people on Saturday to cut non-essential internal travel and asked older residents to stay at home to help combat the spread of the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 50 people in the island nation.

WellSouth chairman Dr Doug Hill and chief executive Andrew Swanson-Dobbs have welcomed the call from the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners asking Global Positioning System to conduct more consultations via phone, email or video conferencing. At the highest level, everyone will be asked to stay at home until COVID-19 is back under control, Ardern said.

"It's important that we test the right people, and not people who are at low risk".

Death toll from COVID-19 in B.C
Henry said a staff member at a sixth facility, Vancouver's German-Canadian Care Home, has also tested positive. Bed capacity, which would normally be at about 103 per cent this time of year, was at 63 per cent, he said.

The Ministry of Health's public health staff will be working with their counterparts in Australia to give details of the activities of the passenger while on board the cruise to assist the Australian health services in the follow up they're undertaking there.

The second is the importance of maintaining physical distancing while in the community. The website will continue to be updated as fuller information is received, he said.

The number of new cases is in line with what we've seen in the past few days. A man in his 60s is in Lakes District Hospital in Queenstown, a woman is in hospital in Nelson and another in North Shore Hospital.

"The more people we are able to test in New Zealand the more positives we'll find, but the percentage of positive tests we get back should drop". All three are stable.

The Ministry of Health is in the process of contacting the 56 New Zealanders who were on board the ship, which includes 28 who have returned to New Zealand.

The ship travelled to Fiordland (March 11), Dunedin (March 12), Akaroa (March 13), Wellington (March 14) and Napier (March 15) before returning to Sydney.

There are lots of ways to reach out to people by phone, social media, or online contact.

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