COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) update - February 18

News article

18 February 2020

Note: for the most recent information see our main novel coronavirus page.

Health Minister David Clark and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield gave media an update on New Zealand's response to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

Update summary

  • The Minister reiterated his primary concern is the safe return and management of the 14 New Zealanders from the Diamond Princess. Eight of those New Zealanders will be taken to the Whangaparāoa Reception Centre for a 14 day quanrantine period.
  • The two New Zealanders who remain in hospital in Yokohama are both recovering well - they will not be on this flight. Another family member from the ship, who is well, will be staying with their relative in hospital during their recovery.
  • Dr Clark advised that any passengers not coming on the chartered transport will likely be denied entry to New Zealand under the current border controls.
  • He advised precautions were also being put in place for 16 New Zealanders on board the Westerdam, a separate cruise ship that docked in Cambodia with a confirmed case of COVID-19 identified after passengers dispersed.
  • Dr Clark touched on the planned departure on Wednesday of the 157 guests who've spent 14 days in quarantine at the Whangaparāoa Reception Centre and says he's pleased with how this process has worked.
  • Dr Bloomfield mentioned that the latest review of travel border restrictions is underway - reviews take place every 48 hours, based on any emerging evidence. Currently the restrictions are only in place for travellers from mainland China who are not New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.
  • Dr Bloomfield advised the Ministry holds a stockpile of 9 million P2 face masks. A stocktake of PPE equipment levels being held by DHBs and GP practices is underway.
  • Dr Bloomfield thanked all those who are self-isolating and encouraged registrations with Healthline so people can be supported appropriately
  • He encouraged people to continue with basic hygiene including frequent handwashing and avoiding crowded gatherings.

Back to top