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National Health Advisory Update on 2019-nCoV - 3 February 2020

A decision has been made by the Ministry of Health to expand the case definition for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Expanded case definition for 2019-nCoV

A decision has been made by the Ministry of Health to expand the case definition for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The travel history will now include those who have travelled to New Zealand from mainland China, either directly, or via another country within the last 14 days. Previously it only included people who had travelled to and from Hubei province in China, particularly Wuhan.

Additional Border Measures  

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) have updated their travel advisory and now recommend that New Zealanders do not travel to any part of mainland China.

In order to reduce the chances of 2019-nCoV spreading within New Zealand, additional border measures will be implemented from 2 February 2020.

These measures will deny entry to New Zealand for anyone who has left or transited through mainland China from 2 February 2020, with the exception of:
-        New Zealand citizens (including those from the three Countries of the Realm: Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands), permanent residents and their immediate family
-        Air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

The above also applies to passengers who are transiting through New Zealand, unless they are New Zealand citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families.

We are specifically considering the situation for Pacific Island nationals returning from mainland China via Auckland Airport.

As of 2 February 2020, all travellers arriving in New Zealand out of mainland China should self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China. The advice for people who have had exposure to a confirmed case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) remains the same.

Existing travellers already in New Zealand who arrived or transited after 19 January should refer to previous advice. Self-isolation for people who arrived in New Zealand before 2 February only applies if they have been in Wuhan City or Hubei Province.

For full details on how you should self-isolate click here. These will be going up on the Ministry of Health website tomorrow.  

Eligibility Direction

Effective from Thursday 30 January 2020 novel coronavirus capable of causing severe respiratory illness was made a notifiable infectious disease under the Health Act 1956. In addition to allowing the Health Act provisions for the management of infectious diseases to be used for this new disease, its inclusion in Schedule 1 of the Act also triggers the Eligibility Direction.

In particular, clause B23 Person who requires services relating to infectious diseases or quarantinable diseases. This clause covers the surveillance, diagnosis, treatment, follow up and contact tracing of an infectious disease.

This means that a person who would normally have to pay the full cost of health services in New Zealand, for example a tourist at a public hospital, is now eligible to receive the same publicly funded services as a New Zealander.

Notification of confirmed cases

The process for notification of a confirmed case of 2019-nCoV has been developed between the NHCC, ESR, and the Public Health Units. Once a case has been confirmed, we will let you know as soon as possible. Until then, please continue to direct your staff to the Ministry of Health guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) and the guidance for if they begin to feel ill.

More information will be provided to you in due course.

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