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Keeping COVID-19 out of Tairāwhiti

Health Protection Officers are stepping up their activities in the community to keep COVID-19 out. They are now meeting incoming flights to Gisborne Airport and making sure everyone disembarking knows what self-isolating means. 

As of noon today (Wednesday 25 March), there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Tairāwhiti and we want to keep it that way says Hauora Tairāwhiti Medical Officer of Health Dr Osman David Mansoor.

“It is vital that people coming into the district self-isolate effectively. Now that four cases in New Zealand have been classified as community transmission this is just as important for people coming in from other New Zealand cities as it is for people returning from overseas.”

Health protection team direct people disembarking from a flight

From 11.59pm tonight, New Zealand will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 4. All New Zealanders not working in essential services must self-isolate. People must stay at home and stop all interactions with people outside your home.

“People can still go to the pharmacy to pick up medication or go for a walk – on your own - to get some exercise. The key is keeping 2 metres distance from other people at all times, reiterates Dr Mansoor. “Physical distancing - staying at home and keeping 2 metres away, will slow the spread of Covid-19 by preventing the virus from moving between people via sneeze,  cough, breath or speech.”

All gatherings have been cancelled. Food, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support will continue to be available.

Hauora Tairāwhiti Health Promoters have been assessing the stores that will remain open and the shopping behaviours of their customers. The stores visited included dairies, medical centres, supermarkets and petrol stations.

“Most of the businesses had good signage up, understood about physical distancing and were cleaning down surfaces regularly. 

“For those that didn’t, advice was given. Bright coloured tape can be used as markers on the floor to promote two metres distance when lining up or queuing. Stores are advised to have only one person in at a time. Anyone who is not well must stay home and anyone who is well but is coughing or sneezing should wear a mask when around others,” confirmed Mr Mansoor.

“Every service worker must feel they are adequately protected against close contact. If you have to be close to people wear a mask or scarf to cover your mouth and nose. Avoid touching surfaces other people are touching and don’t touch your face. If you can’t avoid touching wear gloves (any kind) and wash hands after.  This will reduce self-infection risks.”

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