New Zealand and COVID-19 Virus. UPDATE August 29

In this blog we provide updates on the New Zealand response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and some news stories about what's happening in New Zealand as a result of the restrictions they have imposed.

August 29

There are now 1376 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and border controls remain in place. This means only New Zealand citizens / passport holders, their spouse and immediate families can enter New Zealand. 

August 17

Over the past week, 58 new cases of Covid-19 have been found in the New Zealand community. A great disappointment after over 100-days of New Zealand being virus free

In every other respect, nothing has changed. The New Zealand borders have been closed to all but New Zealand citizen arrivals and their spouse.

The authorities seem satisfied that this new outbreak of 58 new cases has been largely contained.

August 11

After 102 days during which no Covid-19 cases were reported in the New Zealand community, four positive cases of Covid-19 were reported this morning.

As a result, Auckland returns to level 3 restrictions from 12 noon today. The restrictions will last three days until midnight Friday, New Zealand time. The rest of New Zealand will move to level 2 at the same time.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern - "These three days will give us time to assess the situation, gather information, make sure we have wide-spread contact tracing," Ardern said.

Under level 3 in Auckland, people are to work from home unless they are essential workers, and stay in their bubbles. 

Bars and restaurants will have to close, and restrictions come in place for funerals and weddings.

"Travelling into Auckland is prohibited unless you normally reside there and are travelling home."

People in Auckland but not from the city can return home, but must be aware of symptoms. Anyone with symptoms is advised to get a test

All key services, including pharmacies and supermarkets remain open. Food delivery is available under level 3. Childcare and schooling is only available for essential workers.

"These three days will give us time to assess the situation, gather information, make sure we have wide-spread contact tracing," Ardern said.

Aucklanders are asked to stay home to stop the spread. "Act as if you have Covid and the people around you have Covid."

Isolation requirements for all international arrivals into New Zealand remain in place.

  • All travellers entering New Zealand on flights will be required to complete fourteen days of isolation in a managed facility (hotels). Under current border restrictions only New Zealand Citizens, Permanent Residents and their legal partners can enter New Zealand. 
  • Every passenger entering New Zealand will continue to be screened for COVID-19 on arrival.
  • If a passenger is symptomatic on arrival, they will be tested and placed in an approved quarantine facility for 14 days.
  • All other passengers will be placed in local managed isolation accommodation, which has been approved for isolation for 14 days. They will be transported there directly from the airport.
  • They will have regular contact with the government repatriation team who will coordinate all movement and welfare support
  • Appropriate isolation will be arranged in hotels by the New Zealand Government.
  • No end date has been set for managed isolation requirements when entering New Zealand.

Air New Zealand remains the only airline operating between North American and New Zealand, currently offering a three times a week service between Los Angeles and Auckland.

Even in the darkest of times ...

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One of Auckland's finest - The luxury Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Even in the darkest of times, there's always a place for a story that will make us smile. We hope you enjoy this example. 

In an attempt to embarrass the government, the leader of the opposition in the New Zealand parliament was questioning the efficiencies of the people in charge of quarantine arrangements for people arriving from overseas.

As he tells it, a few weeks ago, a group of new overseas arrivals were taken by coach from Auckland Airport to their designated hotel, the luxury five-star Crowne Plaza in the city. This was where they were to spend their 2-weeks of compulsory (and free) covid-19 quarantine.

All arrival procedures were carried out at the airport. They were then advise that on arrival at their hotel in the city they were to form a queue at reception before being assigned a room number and given their room key.

So on arrival at the hotel, they did as instructed. However,the resulting queue spilt over to into the street. 

A homeless man who happened to be standing on the footpath outside the hotel decided it might be a good idea to explore what might happen if he was to also join the queue. Which he did.

When his turn came, just like everyone in the queue he was given a room number and room key. 

After 2-weeks of quarantined luxury accommodation, 3-free meals a day and regular COVID-19 checks, he was advised that he was virus-free and could leave. He was asked for a forwarding address, only to tell the official that he didn’t have one because he was homeless. Only then did the alarm bells start ringing.

Our resourceful homeless man is being widely praised as a national hero!

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Mt Taranaki, taken from the coastal town of Whanganui, North Island.

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Breaksea Sound, Fiordland, South Island.

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Aug 28, 2020