COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) update - February 19

News article

19 February 2020

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay addressing media on 19th February 2020 at 3:00pm, giving an update on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

Update summary 

  • Dr Bloomfield advised all but two guests have left the Whangaparaoa Reception Centre. One guest was feeling unwell and has been tested.  They will remain at the Centre with their travel companion who is in good health awaiting test results.
  • He acknowledged the collaborative efforts of multiple agencies for making the experience as pleasant as possible for the guests.  Feedback from guests has been positive.
  • Dr Bloomfield advised the border restrictions in place until midnight on Monday will expand to include anyone on the Diamond Princess which means non one else from that ship will be allowed to enter New Zealand for 14 days.
  • Dr McElnay advised Diamond Princess passengers are expected to arrive in New Zealand on Thursday evening and will go straight into supervised isolation at the Whangaparaoa Reception Centre. They will be accompanied on their journey by a paramedic, and the same precautions and infection controls will be in place on the flight as for the flight from Wuhan.
  • She also advised the Westerdam cruise ship passengers who have returned to New Zealand are all in self-isolation and public health is in daily contact with them all.
  • Dr Bloomfield reassured GPs and frontline staff will have appropriate personal protective equipment and face masks available to them.
  • Dr Bloomfield explained the 14 days isolation period is in line with the World Health Organization recommendations given the mean incubation period is three days.
  • He said more than 4700 people have registered with Healthline’s self-isolation database up to midnight last night.  

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