February Updates #12 - #2 | Northland DHB

February Updates #12 - #2

Update #12 6:05PM - 28 Feb 2020
Single case of COVID-19 confirmed in New Zealand 

The first case of COVID-19 is now confirmed in New Zealand in a person in their 60s recently returned from Iran. 

The results of the test were formally reported to the Ministry at around 4.15pm this afternoon.

Although we have our first case of COVID-19, the chances of community outbreak remain low.

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. Anyone who was on the final leg of the flight, Emirates EK450 arriving Auckland on Wednesday 26 February, and is concerned should contact the COVID-19 Healthline number 0800 358 5453.

The person arrived in Auckland on 26 February and travelled home in a private car. Their family became concerned about their condition and called Healthline.They were advised to seek medical attention and attended Auckland City Hospital emergency department that same day. All were wearing masks on arrival. As a result of the individual's symptoms and travel history they were admitted and tested.   

Two earlier tests were negative for COVID-19.  A further test today using a more specific sample proved positive. Contact tracing has started and close contacts are in isolation. Other close family contacts will also now be tested for COVID-19.

Hospital staff involved in the patient's care are using with appropriate personal protection. District health boards have been preparing for managing cases of COVID-19.

The overall situation regarding COVID-19 internationally remains rapidly evolving with a high degree of uncertainty and we continue to recommend a precautionary approach.

New Zealand is the 48th country to have a confirmed case of COVID-19.It is critically important that we both protect New Zealanders from the virus and play our part in the global effort to contain it.

The Ministry of Health’s assessment remains that there is a high likelihood of sporadic cases.Keeping individuals, families and our communities safe and healthy in the current global environment requires a team effort and that's what we're seeing across New Zealand.

Healthline's dedicated COVID-19 number, 0800 358 5453, is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Other Background

Border restrictions remain in place for anyone who has been to or through mainland China or Iran in the past 14 days.  The Ministry’s expert advisory group yesterday revised the advice to health professionals about identifying possible cases of COVID-19 by adding Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Thailand as countries and territories of concern when assessing patients. 

Anyone arriving in NZ who has visited those countries in the previous 14 days is advised if they develop symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath they should seek medical advice by first phoning Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453 or phone ahead to their GP before their visit. 

Update #11 09:00 - 28 Feb 2020
Case Definition Update

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand to date.

The Ministry of Health’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has this morning revised the case definition for COVID-19. The TAG has updated its advice to include two categories for countries or areas of concern.

People who travel to New Zealand from or via (excluding airport transit) those countries listed in category one in the last 14 days should self-isolate for 14 days and contact Healthline.

Anyone who has travelled from or via all countries listed in both categories with clinically compatible symptoms should be considered a suspect of COVID-19 case and testing performed.

Category two travellers do not have to routinely self-isolate unless they have symptoms and meet the clinical criteria.

Countries or areas of concern (as at 27 February 2020)

Category one: Mainland China

People who have travelled from or via from countries in category one in the last 14 days are required to self-isolate for 14 days and contact Healthline after they have left the countries listed.

Category two: Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Thailand

People who have travelled from or via countries lists in category two who develop symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath should seek medical advice by first phoning Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453 or contacting their GP including phoning ahead of their visit.

Update #10 16:40 - 26 Feb 2020

There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

The overall situation regarding COVID-19 internationally is rapidly evolving and we continue to recommend a precautionary approach.

Overnight we have seen another increase in case numbers in South Korea, Italy and Iran. Four new countries - Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, and Oman reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

"Our Technical Advisory Group will be meeting tomorrow morning (Thursday) to assess the evolving global situation and what actions the Ministry needs to take to respond to the changing situation and to support New Zealand's overall response to COVID-19," says the Ministry’s Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay.

"This will include looking at expanding our case definition for testing of COVID-19 cases."

Dr McElnay says she also wants to emphasise the need for people to ring ahead if they are concerned they may have COVID-19.

“It’s really important that we continue to take a precautionary approach to suspected cases.

"If you have recently returned from a country or region internationally with a recent increase in cases and have a fever, difficulty breathing or a cough it’s important you ring Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number first or ring your General Practice before making a visit and potentially putting others at risk,” says Dr McElnay.

"I also want to reinforce our message around our supply of personal protective equipment. I know there's some concern out there around the supply levels. It's really important to us that General Practices have the level of personal protective equipment that they need. That's why we're working with DHBs and PHOs to ensure the supply of PPE to General Practice."

The Ministry of Health’s assessment remains that there is a high likelihood of New Zealand getting a case of COVID-19 and we are well placed to stop the spread of the disease when a case appears.

Healthline's dedicated COVID-19 number, 0800 358 5453, is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. More than 5 thousand people have now registered with Healthline as being in self-isolation and we are regularly checking on their wellbeing and welfare.

Update #9: 1.25PM - 19 Feb 2020

As at 1300 hours 19 Feb 2020 there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Zealand.  but the likelihood of importing a case is high.

The risk of an ongoing outbreak in New Zealand is low-moderate, but the Ministry of Health is monitoring the situation closely.

If any public health measures are needed for this virus, the Ministry of Health will advise.

The Ministry of Health have updated the self-isolation guidelines here. (external link)

Today, the 157 guests who have been cared for during their period in isolation at the Whangaparaoa Reception Centre should be free to return to their homes and to their regular daily routines. 

Update #8:  1.25PM - 17 Feb 2020

As of 16 February 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

Temporary restrictions on travel from China will remain in place as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

The restrictions which prevent foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China from entering New Zealand have been extended for a further 8 days. This position will be reviewed every 48 hours. 

New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family returning to New Zealand will continue to be able to enter, but are being told to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

Healthline's dedicated COVID-19 number, 0800358 5453, is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Ministry is encouraging anyone who has not yet registered as a result of their travel to
China, to do so. This will help ensure we 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.

Update #7: 1:25PM - 15 Feb 2020

There continue to be no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

While the World Health Organization reports there are just under 47,000 laboratory-confirmed
cases of COVID-19 globally, only two of 1369 confirmed deaths have occurred outside mainland China.

The number of passengers arriving directly to New Zealand from mainland China has decreased
from approximately 2000 per day to 500 passengers or less.

The Ministry of Health is continuing to work with border agencies to ensure people who left
mainland China after 2 February 2020 are aware of the need to self-isolate for
14 days and register with Healthline.

The growing number of registrations with Healthline is encouraging.  585 registrations for
self-isolation were made yesterday and as at midnight 13 February just over 3000 people have registered since the register went live at 5pm on Friday 7 February.

Healthline's dedicated COVID-19 number, 0800358 5453, is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week.

The Ministry is encouraging anyone who has not yet registered as a result of their travel to
China, to do so. This will help ensure we 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.

In addition, the Ministry is also working with Customs to enable Healthline to proactively contact all people who have arrived in New Zealand from or via China since February 2 who have not registered.

With regard to cruise ship travel, the Master or ship's doctor must tell the local public health
staff if there is anyone on board with symptoms of concern. This includes symptoms of COVID-19.

There are well established procedures in place which enable health agencies to share
information on cases and contacts within New Zealand and with health authorities overseas.

A reminder that 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.

There's more information here:

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/novel-coronavirus-covid-19(external link)

https://www.govt.nz/coronavirus(external link)

Update #6: 09:00AM - 13 Feb 2020

As of 1300 hrs on 13 February 2020 there are no confirmed cases in New Zealand.

WHO has agreed that the novel coronavirus 2019, be named from now on: Covid-19.

Q: Who should self-isolate?

A: The advice to all travellers arriving in New Zealand from mainland China, including those who have transited through China, is that they should self-isolate for a period of 14 days. People are asked to register their details with Healthline's dedicated number - 0800 358 5453 so that health support can be provided.

Update #5: 4:35PM - 11 Feb 2020

As of 1300 hrs on 11 February 2020 there are no confirmed cases in New Zealand.

Dedicated 0800 number for health advice and information. 

The number is 0800 358 5453 – it is free and available 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.

You should call that dedicated number:

  • For any coronavirus health advice and information and any questions you have about coronavirus, self-isolation etc

There has been a positive uptake of the newly established 0800 number dedicated to novel coronavirus, with people registering via Healthline for follow-up health support.

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

  • Please register your 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.

Call 0800 358 5453 to register.

If you are using an international SIM, call +64 9 358 5453

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.

If you are unsure if you should be self-isolating, please contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.

Here is a link to NZSL information Deaf Aotearoa(external link)

Update #4: 6.15PM - 6 Feb 2020

There are no confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in New Zealand to date but the likelihood of importing a case is high. 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, we will advise.

Dedicated 0800 number for health advice and information

Healthline has set up a dedicated 0800 number specifically for health-related calls about coronavirus.

  • The number is 0800 358 5453
  • 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 and interpreters will be on hand. The number is staffed by nurses, paramedics and health advisors.

 Healthline’s existing number is still the main number to call for non-coronavirus health concerns.

Advice about self-isolation

Self-isolation means avoiding situations where you could infect other people. This means all situations where you may come in contact with others, such as social gatherings, work, school, child care/pre-school centres, university, faith-based gatherings, aged care and health care 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.

If you are unsure if you should be self-isolating, please contact Healthline for free on 0800 611 116

Information for Suspected Cases Isolated at Home [PDF, 416 KB]

Ministry of Health information about self-isolation.(external link)

Ministry of Health Resources

Facebook page

The Ministry of Health now has a Facebook page: @minhealthnz(external link). In addition to our Twitter channel [@minhealthnz(external link)], we will be using Facebook to alert people to key updates and messaging specifically about coronavirus.

Update #3: 3:00PM - 4 Feb 2020

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) have updated their travel advisory and now recommend that New Zealanders do not travel to any part of mainland China.

Additional border measures came into effect from 2 February 2020. 

These measures will deny entry to New Zealand for anyone who has left or transited through mainland China from 2 February 2020, with the exception of:

  • New Zealand citizens (including those from the three Countries of the Realm: Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands), permanent residents and their immediate family 
  • Air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). 

This also applies to passengers who are transiting through New Zealand, unless they are New Zealand citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families. 

Aircrew who have been in or who disembarked in mainland China after midnight on 2 February will need to self-isolate.

We are specifically considering the situation for Pacific Island nationals returning from mainland China via Auckland Airport.

For specific coronavirus related immigration enquiries, contact Immigration Contact Centre on 0508 225 288 (within NZ) or +64 9 952 1679 (outside NZ).

People who departed from mainland China before midnight 2 February are not required to self-isolate unless they have been in Wuhan City or Hubei Province in the last 14 days.

For more travel information go to this page. (external link)

Update #2: 5:30PM - 1 Feb 2020

Suspected novel coronavirus has returned a negative result

You may have seen that the Director General of Health has announced the good news that the testing for the patient that is being cared for at Auckland City Hospital with suspected novel coronavirus has returned a negative result.

We can expect to have more suspected cases, and it is also expected there will be a confirmed case of this coronavirus somewhere in New Zealand before long.

Use of facemasks

Protective measures such as good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if unwell are the best way to prevent infection. 

The evidence on the effectiveness of face masks in preventing the spread of disease is limited. However, if people choose to wear a mask they should ensure they are wearing them correctly.  For more information about the use of facemasks go to the Ministry of Health website.(external link)

We maintain our advice around travel: travellers who become sick within a month of their arrival are encouraged to seek medical advice and contact Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116  or a doctor. It is important to mention recent travel to Hubei Province, particularly Wuhan and any known contact with someone with severe acute respiratory illness.

How do I protect myself and my family?

Everyone should protect themselves from the virus, as you would for the ‘flu:

  • Washing your hands regularly, or using hand sanitiser, is the best way to avoid this illness
  • As with other illnesses, do not go to work or school if you are sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or clothing, and wash hands afterwards
  • Avoid being close to people who are sick
  • Wear a mask only if you are coughing and sneezing
  • Washing your hands often and covering coughs and sneezes will do more to protect you from the virus than a mask
  • If you are sharing food, use utensils to serve the food and keep your personal spoon, fork, or chopsticks separate to avoid transmission through saliva.
Where can I find more information?

Information is updated on the Ministry of Health website(external link)

You can also call your local doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116.(external link)

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