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Information on the novel coronavirus from the Ministry of Health

Thursday, February 13, 2020   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: health, prevention, information, disease, advice

There are currently outbreaks overseas of a new disease called COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus). The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation and following guidance from the World Health Organization.

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand to date but the likelihood of importing a case is high. The risk of an ongoing outbreak in New Zealand is low-moderate, but the Ministry of Health is monitoring the situation closely. They will advise if any public health measures are needed for this virus.

Keep up to date with latest information about novel coronavirus on the Ministry of Health website.

Dedicated 0800 number for health advice and information

You can call 0800 358 5453 for any coronavirus health advice and information or any questions you have about coronavirus, self-isolation etc. It is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. International SIMs should call +64 9 358 5453.

People calling this line will be able to talk with a member of the National Telehealth Service. They have access to interpreters.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19.

Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing can be a sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

We don’t yet know how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected. Current World Health Organisation (WHO) assessments suggest that it is 2 to 10 days.

How novel coronavirus spreads

COVID-19 can be transmitted from person to person like the flu. The scientific evidence confirms that coronavirus is spread by droplets. This means that an infected person may generate droplets containing the virus when they cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets are too large to stay in the air for long, so they quickly settle on surrounding surfaces.

Droplet-spread diseases can be spread by:

  • coughing and sneezing;
  • close personal contact; and
  • 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.