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Source: Auckland Council

Auckland Council continues to take a watching brief on the national and regional response to COVID-19 (coronavirus). We are ready to respond to any advice from New Zealand’s health agencies – to help them share their information and manage any health needs in the Auckland region.

Important information and links

The Ministry of Health says, with continued vigilance, the chance of widespread community outbreak of COVID-19 is expected to remain low. 

The best way to protect yourself and others is to practice good hygiene measures: 

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues
  • Wash hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. 

People should phone Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if they have symptoms and have been to countries of concern or if they have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19. 

More advice is available on the Ministry of Health website. 

The New Zealand Government website has information and links on the advice and support provided by all government agencies. 

The council’s Director of Customer and Community Services Ian Maxwell says that council representatives have been in touch with the Ministry of Health and Auckland Regional Public Health Service and are using health agency advice in relation to council services, programmes and events.

“The Ministry of Health and Auckland Regional Public Health Service continue to advise us that the risk of a sustained outbreak of COVID-19 here in New Zealand is low.

“What is most important for Aucklanders to do is take care of themselves and their families and follow health experts’ advice.”

Council events or programmes

Ian says that few council events or programmes are being cancelled as a result of COVID-19.

“Health agencies have not issued any advice or instructions to cancel, postpone or limit events or gatherings.

“This means that the council’s events and programmes can go ahead as usual.

“We are aware that some community-led events are being cancelled by their organisers – they have their own reasons for making that decision and is entirely up to them.

“If we have to adjust any council-run programmes, it will be as a result of low-attendance or availability of participants.”

The Pasifika Festival 2020 has been cancelled as a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19, particularly to the Pacific Islands. Read more here. 

Movies in Parks and Music and Parks – all go! 

The council’s Movies in Parks and Music in Parks events continue to go ahead as planned. 

“We’re continuing to plan and host our movie and music events but we remind people to stay away if they’re unwell and follow the sensible healthcare advice issued by health agencies. 

“Follow us on Facebook for the most up to date information,” says Auckland Council Manager Events David Burt. 

Business as usual at public venues and facilities

Ian says council staff at our public venues and facilities are aware of people’s interest in coronavirus and have been answering plenty of questions from customers.

“We have a lot of people asking us what the council is doing about the virus and whether it affects our services.

“We continue to keep in touch with the health agencies and share their advice with our teams.

“We have taken this opportunity to put up more information about good hand-washing practices and share the health agencies’ advice to people who have recently travelled from China or know someone who has,” says Ian.

The one exception is our council-run early childhood education services who are required to follow Ministry of Education guidelines and directives around managing any kind of illness or outbreak.

Health advice

These common-sense steps will help minimise the risk of transmission of any flu-type illnesses:

  • Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
  • Frequent hand-washing with warm soapy water, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands.
  • Like with any other illness, people who feel unwell with flu-like and respiratory symptoms (such as fever, cough, shortness of breath) should stay home, prioritise their wellbeing and look after themselves.

Additional information is available on the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website and the Ministry of Health website.

Hand washing and hygiene

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to keep from getting sick and spreading illnesses. It also gets rid of germs you pick up from other people or surfaces you touch.

Hand sanitisers can be used to clean hands when you are not able to use soap, water, and a towel to dry them well. Hand sanitisers do not work as well as good hand washing and drying for removing germs. When using a hand sanitiser keep rubbing your hands together until the gel has completely dried.

This story was originally published on 30 January 2020