COVID-19: New Zealand Sign Language

Information on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL).

Sign language logo. Last updated: 1 September 2020

These sign language videos are provided by Deaf Aotearoa.

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What is COVID-19?

Recently, an outbreak of a new coronavirus disease now called COVID-19 was identified (sometimes called novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV).

Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses which cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

New Zealand is prepared and ready to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak should it occur here.

The risk of an ongoing outbreak is low-moderate, but we are monitoring the situation closely.


Symptoms

How do I identify the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms include: fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, sore throat, sneezing plus runny nose, loss of smell.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19.

The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

If you have these symptoms please call Healthline for free on 08003855453 using the Video Relay Service.


Dedicated 0800 number

Dedicated Healthline 0800 number for COVID-19 health advice and information.

The number is 0800 358 5453

It is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You should call that dedicated number, to register if you have self-isolated yourself.

Healthline’s main number is still the one to call for non-coronavirus health concerns - 0800 611 116.

Whichever number you call, you will get professional health advice and information.


Advice on self-isolation

COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) has broken out in several countries.

If you have departed from one of these affected countries in the last 14 days,

or you have been in close contact with someone who is confirmed with COVID-19, in the last 14 days,

 you may have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19.

You may not know if you have been exposed as it may take up to two weeks for symptoms to present.

To keep yourself and others safe by self-isolation.

This means if you departed a country where there has been an outbreak of COVID-19,

or you have been in close contact with someone who is confirmed with COVID-19, 

you need to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of departure or meeting of the person.

What does it mean to self-isolate?

This means not meeting with other people. Don't go to work, school, church, or shopping etc.

You should stay at least 1m away from other people.

If you share a home with other people, avoid close contact with other people,

 don't share dishes, food, towels, pillows etc.

It is important that dishes are cleaned in the dishwasher and use the washing machine for towels and pillows etc.


Remember to cover your nose and mouth if you need to cough or sneeze.

You can use the sleeve of your arm,

or you can use a tissue and dispose of the tissue in a bin.

When you have finished, you should wash your hands.

Remember to wash you hands with warm water and soap.

You can use a hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 

If you need food shopping, you can ask family or friends to do this for you, 

or you can place an order via online shopping and arrange for delivery at the door. This is safe.

 It is best that you avoid using public transport, taxis and uber where you share facilities.

Contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453

The symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever, and shortness of breath.

 


How it spreads

How COVID-19 spreads?

Like the flu, COVID-19 can be transmitted from person to person.

When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may generate droplets containing the virus.

Droplet-spread diseases can be spread by, coughing and sneezing, contact with an object or surface with viral particles on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

That's why it's really important to practice good hygiene, regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands and practice good cough etiquette.


Prevention

You can take some simple steps to help stop the spread of diseases like COVID-19.

Avoid close contact with people with cold or flu-like illnesses.

Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing.

Before eating or handling food, after using the toilet, after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses, after caring for sick people.

Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and dry them thoroughly.


Immunisation

Currently, there is no specific treatment for coronavirus.

As this is a new virus, there is currently no vaccine available.


Contact tracing


NZ COVID Tracer app


Masks and face coverings

Update: From 11.59 pm on Sunday 30 August 2020 all people in New Zealand must, unless they have an exemption, wear a mask or face covering on buses, trains, ferries and on all flights at Alert Level 2 and above.

Who needs to wear a mask or face covering in Alert Level 3?

Face coverings not mandatory but are recommended when out and about in Alert Level 3.

You can use a re-usable or disposable mask, or another kind of face covering, like a scarf, bandana or t-shirt.

Note that masks are mandatory for those leaving Auckland on an aircraft.


Personal protective equipment (PPE)

You may see people around wearing PPE. PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment and is used to protect you and other people from getting or spreading COVID-19. PPE might look like:

  • People wearing masks to cover their mouth and nose, and
  • Gloves,
  • Gowns or plastic aprons,
  • Eye protection or face shields.

It’s essential to keep everyone safe, and PPE is a good and critical way of doing that.

People might wear PPE when their job requires them to be within 2 metres of someone else, or if people have health problems that could cause them to get sick easily.

People that might wear PPE are doctors, nurses, carers, support workers, and even some other visitors to your home.

You may be required to wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose in some situations, especially if you’re unwell and seeing a doctor. If you are unable to wear a mask for medical, physical, or communication reasons, you will not have to wear one.

You may also be required to wear a mask in some community settings under certain Alert Levels where COVID-19 is spreading within communities. These masks can be purchased from several places such as pharmacies or hardware stores.

PPE might look a little scary, but it’s a good thing.

The people wearing PPE are just the same people who would look after you, or visit you ordinarily, and they’re wearing it to keep you and them safe.

If you’re feeling unwell, it’s important to tell your carers, support workers, or the doctors who look after you.This is so that they can make sure they know what PPE to use to keep you and themselves safe.

If you do wear a mask, you must do so correctly, this means:

  • Making sure your hands are clean when you put the mask on,
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and dry them thoroughly;
  • If you can’t access soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol. If you’re using sanitiser, make sure that you use enough to cover your hands and rub your hands together until dry;
  • Put the face mask over your nose and mouth and secure it with ties or loops. Make sure the mask fits snugly and fully covers your mouth, nose and chin;
  • Your mask should be comfortable with no gaps between the mask and your face, and lets you breathe easily;
  • Don’t touch the front of your mask or your face or eyes;
  • Replace your face mask if it becomes damp, damaged, or soiled;
  • Before you take your mask off, clean your hands again by washing them or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser;
  • Take your mask off carefully by holding the ear loops or untying the ties. For face masks with a pair of ties, undo the bottom tie first, then the top one;
  • If you are using a single-use mask, when you are finished using it make sure it is put in a closed bin or in a sealed plastic bag before you put it in the bin;
  • Clean your hands again;
  • Don’t reuse or try to disinfect single-use disposable face masks; If you are using a reusable cloth mask, make sure it’s washed use using hot water (60 degrees Celsius) after each use and clothes detergent. Make sure it is completely dry before reusing it.

While PPE is important, it’s also essential to maintain good hygiene practises, these include:

  • making sure your mouth and nose is covered by your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze;
  • putting used tissues in the bin, or a bag immediately and cleaning your hands immediately;
  • wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds, and dry them thoroughly, or use hand sanitiser (as above);
  • avoid close contact with people if you’re unwell; keep a physical distance of at least two metres from others;
  • Clean surfaces regularly, especially ones that are used or touched often, for example, tabletops, counters, light switches, and touch screens.

If you are someone who relies on New Zealand Sign Language, or visual facial cues such as lip reading, or are needing to communicate with someone who does. In that case, you are allowed to remove your mask to communicate. However, you must maintain a physical distance of 2 metres when you do.

If you wear a hearing aid, you need to be careful when putting on or taking off your face mask to make sure you don’t lose your hearing aid or get it tangled in the mask ties or loops. You may find that using face masks that tie around the head, rather than those that loop over the ears, will help keep the mask loops free from your hearing aid.


Golden rules for Businesses at Alert Level 2

Do everything you can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at work — we all have a part to play in keeping each other safe. 

  1. COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.
  2. All businesses can operate if they can do so safely. Alternative ways of working are still encouraged where possible.
  3. Talk with your workers to identify risks and ways to manage them.
  4. Ask everyone, workers, contractors and customers, with cold or flu-like symptoms to stay away from your premises.
  5. Keep groups of customers at least 1 metre apart, or 2 metres for retail businesses.
  6. Keep contact tracing records of anyone who will have close interaction for example workers, contractors or customers. Retail businesses are not required to keep contact tracing records.
  7. All businesses must display a government issued QR code for use with the NZ COVID Tracer App by 19 August.
  8. Face coverings are strongly encouraged if you are in close contact with others.
  9. Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them.
  10. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.

Golden rules for Businesses at Alert Level 3

  1. If your business requires close physical contact it can’t operate.
  2. Your staff should work from home if they can.
  3. Keep contact tracing records of anyone who will have close interaction for example workers and contractors.
  4. All businesses must display a government issued QR code for use with the NZ COVID Tracer App by 19 August.
  5. Customers cannot come onto your premises. Unless you are a supermarket, dairy, petrol station, pharmacy or permitted health service.
  6. Your business must be contactless. Your customers can pay online, over the phone or in a contactless way. Delivery or pick-up must also be contactless.
  7. Basic hygiene measures must be maintained. Physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces. Workers must stay home if they are sick.
  8. Staff must remain a minimum of 1 metre apart at all times where practical. Other measures, such as PPE including face coverings, should be used where appropriate.
  9. Different advice applies to essential healthcare workers, border agencies, courts and tribunal staff, first responders and corrections staff. Visit MoH.govt.nz for more advice.
  10. You must meet all other health and safety obligations.
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