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14 Mar 2020 | 04:42 AM UTC

New Zealand: All arrivals required to self-isolate amid COVID-19 spread March 15 /update 1

Prime Minister Arden announces that all arrivals from all countries required to self-isolate amid COVID-10 pandemic beginning March 15; follow authority directives

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Event

Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced that beginning Sunday, March 15, all arrivals from most countries, including New Zealand nationals and residents, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days in efforts to control the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread. The only exception will be for travelers coming from small South Pacific island nations which have no confirmed COVID-19 cases. Strict exit measures will also be implemented, in which travelers who have been abroad will be barred from traveling to South Pacific islands. Those with symptoms or who have been in recent contact with anyone with COVID-19 will also be barred from traveling to those islands. New Zealanders were invited to reconsider all travel abroad.

Arden stated that these measures will be reviewed at the end of March.

As of Saturday, MArch 14, there are five confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Zealand. Further international spread of the virus is anticipated over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.