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04 Sep 2020 | 04:10 AM UTC

New Zealand: Prime minister extends COVID-19 restrictions until mid-September /update 24

New Zealand News Alert

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden extends COVID-19 restrictions until mid-September; follow government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 9/4/2020, 12:00 AM until 9/24/2020, 11:59 PM (Pacific/Auckland). COUNTRY/REGION New Zealand

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Event

On Friday, September 4, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced that restrictions in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) would be extended until at least mid-September. Auckland will remain on alert level 2.5 (4 being the highest), restricting gatherings to no more than ten people. The rest of the country is on level 2, requiring people to observe social distancing measures and limiting gatherings to 100 people. Face masks must be worn on public transport.

The country's general election has also been postponed by a month until October 17 following a recent resurgence in COVID-19 cases in Auckland. The September 19 election had been expected to be delayed after several opposition parties complained of campaigning limitations due to current COVID-19-related restrictions in the country, but Ardern has insisted that there will be no further delays in the polls.

New Zealand's borders remain closed to almost all arrivals. Anyone entering the country must undergo quarantine or managed isolation in an approved facility for a minimum of 14 days. Arrivals must then test negative for COVID-19 before entering the community.

As of September 4, there have been 1764 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand with 22 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

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

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.

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.

 

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