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17 juin 2020 | 09h56 UTC

New Zealand: Military to oversee COVID-19 quarantine facilities June 17 /update 17

New Zealand Alerte de sécurité

Military to oversee COVID-19 quarantine facilities following recently imported cases June 17; follow government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 17/6/2020, 12h00 until 24/6/2020, 11h59 (Pacific/Auckland). COUNTRY/REGION New Zealand

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Event

On Wednesday, June 17, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that she will be appointing the military to oversee quarantine and isolation facilities amid recently imported cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The move appoints the country's Assistant Chief of Defense, Digby Webb to utilize military resources and personnel if needed for the running of the facilities. Ardern has stated that an audit will be conducted to ensure all proper processes are followed and adhered to after two travelers from the UK who arrived on June 7 left their compulsory quarantine early.

New Zealand authorities confirmed two new cases of COVID-19, the first cases reported in 24 days on Tuesday, June 16. The two individuals were given special permission to enter the country to visit a dying parent. Due to compassionate exemptions, they were not tested for the virus upon entry. Health Minister David Clark has since announced that he will suspend compassionate exemptions to the quarantine rules.

On June 9, New Zealand entered level one of their COVID-19 restrictions (the lowest on a four-tier scale) after declaring the country was COVID-19 free. With the exception of the reopening of borders, which are to remain closed indefinitely, all restrictions were lifted. Social distancing requirements throughout the country were also removed. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Arden warned that restrictions would be reimplemented should new cases emerge, and encouraged businesses to continue displaying QR codes to allow residents to trace their movements, although manual tracing of their movements is no longer required.

As of June 17, the Health Ministry has confirmed 1506 cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand and 22 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the disease 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). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

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

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

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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