Mar 17, 2020

Updated 6/4/2020  PLEASE READ FULL TEXT

New Zealand currently has 1,106 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19. There is one death from the virus, announced on 29 March 2020. The majority of the cases are directly linked to overseas travel or close contacts of previously confirmed cases or associated with events where there were infected people, with approximately 2% of cases being community transmission. 176 people have recovered from the virus. 

As from midnight Wednesday 25 March we are in Level 4 of the COVID-19 response and are in a continued state of emergency. These measures will need to be in place for at least 4 weeks but may be required for a longer period. Please stay at home unless you are an essential services worker at work. 

This means that for at least the next month, all non-essential businesses are closed or working from home where possible and all NZers not in an essential service must self isolate. All indoor and outdoor events cannot proceed. Essential services (such as supermarkets, doctors, hospitals, vets, pharmacies, clinics, and lifeline utilities) will remain open but must limit contact. A list of essential business can be found at this link. Schools are closed and school holidays have been brought forward to 30 March to 14 April with schools being advised to develop e-learning and other distance learning options for Term 2. We strongly recommend teachers act now to set up remote teaching so they can be in a position to continue working on this basis in Term 2.

 The new government website has more information about what this means for everyone. 

For those who have any other concerns, this fact sheet might help. Please see the Work and Income NZ website with details of the new financial subsidy package announced by the government if you need help. 

We advise members to regularly check the latest updates on the Ministry of Health website which has comprehensive information about COVID-19 and details of the simple precautions you can take to protect yourself and others. The New Zealand Government has also launched a new website on all things COVID-19. We advise members to use reputable sources such as these to obtain information rather than relying on other less accurate and alarmist sources. There has also been an increase in cyber attacks; please exercise caution when dealing with emails or texts from unknown sources and ensure you are up to date with anti-virus protection. 

It’s really important for mental well-being to stay connected to people.  There are lots of ways to reach out to people by phone, social media, or online contact. Talking to people and checking on others keeps us all connected and that is more important than ever. See this link for looking after your mental health and well-being whilst self isolating.

If you have any concerns the Ministry of Health suggests that you contact Healthline at 0800 611 116 or your GP for medical advice. Healthline has translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese speaking staff.

Thank you for helping to keep our communities safe in this unprecedented time.

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