Monday 27 January 2020

The insanity of the non-reaction of the NZ authorities to the "coronavirus" pandemic

What a clusterf..k!

If this was not replicated all around the world I would not believe the stupidity of the government and health officials who are taking their marching orders from the WHO that seems to have sat on information on this outbreak since the beginning of December when the Chinese informed them.

From what I can glean from comments on social media and from what people have reported to me of conversations the public at large really do get it where the authorities pretend not to.

They may not get abrupt climate change or the threat of thermonuclear war but they get this.

Afterall they have been told to fear a pandemic  since time immemorial.

Coronavirus outbreak: Chinese tourists on the same flight as person with deadly illness arrive in NZ

Passengers from international flights at Auckland Airport on Monday 27 January, after flights from Guangzhou and Shanghai had touched down. Some people were wearing masks.
27 January, 2020

A group of Chinese tourists who were on the same flight as a person with the deadly coronavirus have arrived in New Zealand.
There are now more than 2000 cases and at least 56 deaths from the virus, which emerged from the Chinese city Wuhan.

Health Minister David Clark confirmed to The AM Show on Monday some passengers had travelled to Australia along with an infected person before coming to New Zealand.
People arriving in New Zealand from China will now be screened as the spread of the virus shows no sign of slowing down.

Clark says the situation is being closely watched, adding those tourists who arrived in the country have been checked by St John staff for symptoms.

"The vast majority were clear," he told The AM Show on Monday. "Those that had minor snivels have been monitored and are going to continue to be monitored by St John.

"My understanding is that they'd voluntarily kept to themselves and also that they're being monitored by health professionals - we think it's very unlikely that they have this condition at all."

Clark said it had been a rapidly-evolving situation.

"We are still finding out more about the virus as it goes on," he said.

"We're moving in step with what the clinical experts tell us.

"All of the time we have different things arriving in New Zealand and we're taking the steps that the medical experts tell us are the right things to do."

As a fifth case of the virus has appeared across the ditch, Australia correspondent Jason Morrison told The AM Show it's likely more will emerge.


China coronavirus checks: 
'Looking for a needle in a 

Visitors from China arrive at Auckland Airport. 27.1.2020
27 January, 2020

This morning, health professionals were for the first time standing at the ready at Christchurch and Auckland airports to hand out information and check any unwell passengers from flights arriving from China.

The virus, which has killed 56 people so far, is believed to have emerged late last year from illegally traded wildlife at an animal market in Wuhan, Hubei. Cases have been confirmed in Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, the US, and France.

Up to 1800 people a day arrive in Auckland and Christchurch from China on six flights from Shanghai and Guangzhou. Both cities have dozens of confirmed cases.

Most passengers coming into Auckland on flights from China were wearing masks and were handed pamphlets by health officers with information about what do if they were unwell. One woman, Jennifer, told RNZ passengers were wearing the masks while on the plane.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service director and incident controller William Rainger told Nine to Noon that no-one had volunteered to be checked so far today and authorities had no power to compel them to, even if someone was suspected of having the disease.

"Technically, it is not quarantineable but we would be working with suspected cases, and people who had been exposed to the suspected cases, and asking them to stay in isolation for a period of time and we would support them in that," Dr Rainger said.

Listen to interview HERE

Border protection staff had been briefed on the outbreak and ambulance and hospitals staff were on standby if any passengers were suspected of being infected, Dr Rainger said.

The latest information suggested any infected person was likely to infect two others, a much lower infection rate than measles which was one to 15, he said.

Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said the news that had come in overnight that the coronavirus could infect people during incubation had yet to be reviewed.

"That's not something we have been informed about officially. My team are looking at what we have received and exactly what the facts are in terms of what's known about infectivity before symptoms. Yes, it makes it much more challenging to contain and manage this virus. But we need to be really clear about what the facts are.

"The nurses are there along with other public health staff to make sure people coming of the planes from China are aware of the symptoms of coronavirus. We expect that anyone off that plane is already well aware because they have come from China."

There is now a facility at the airport for people found to have high temperatures to be directed to.

'Needle in a haystack'

One of the challenges was that a high temperatures could be a symptom of other infections. At present it was influenza season in the Northern Hemisphere, and people with high temperatures were more likely to have the flu than coronavirus, McElnay said.

"It's a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack."

The only test for coronavirus - a blood test - takes a couple of days for results to be returned, but New Zealand doesn't have the ability to do that test yet. Samples must be sent to Australia.

McElnay said the test would be available here later in the week.

She said the situation was being reviewed daily and the evolving situation was what led to the positioning of staff at the airport on Monday.

Information in Chinese languages and Chinese language speaking staff were on hand to help at the airport and via Healthline.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the RNZ Auckland studio for Morning Report. 30 October 2017.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said cabinet would discuss the virus on Tuesday.

Listen to interview HERE

"We are really rolling out everything we can" - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

It would go through a process to ensure coronavirus was listed in New Zealand as a notifiable disease.

"That is not getting in the way of the response, it's just a more formal part of the process we need to go through."

Dr Rainger told Nine to Noon making it a notifiable disease would give them more powers to isolate and quarantine people who might have been exposed, as well as monitor their health.

Virologist Lance Jennings told Nine to Noon it was important to make the disease notifiable. Although it did not appear to be as deadly as the previous SARS and MERS strains, there was still much to learn about it, he said.
Ardern said the government made no apologies for the fact that "even though we do not have a case to date in New Zealand we are really rolling out everything we can including work at the border... We have taken the extra steps of putting health officials at the airport even though we don't have direct flights from (Wuhan)."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) hadn't contacted Ardern about evacuating any New Zealanders from the Wuhan area, she said.

"That's something I'll talk to MFAT about."

MFAT said it was responding to four requests for consular assistance but had no plans for evacuations.

Sixteen New Zealanders are registered in Hubei Province, where Wuhan is the main city.

Asked about the National Party's criticism of the government's response to coronavirus, she said they were "doing what oppositions do".

Student to self-quarantine

An international student arriving in Auckland this morning planned to wear a face mask for the next 10 days.

The man, who didn't want to be named, arrived on the flight from Guangzhou.

He said while no one asked him to, he would try and quarantine himself.

"I'm pretty afraid, they argue about the people from China which is wearing the mask so I think I should keep it on.

"I'm going to stay at home."

If he did go out in public he will keep the mask on, he said.

The student said the flight was normal except for everyone wearing masks on the plane.

"The only have a temperature test at Guangzhou airport but it's like before boarding, it's not even before the security."

There was silence about this over the weekend when I became aware of this, but news is starting to percolate through, drip-by-drip.

An expert advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) has described the coronavirus outbreak as potentially "thermonuclear pandemic level bad".

Dozens have been killed by the virus 2019-nCoV since it was first detected in early December, and as of Sunday morning (NZ time) there were 1441 confirmed cases.

But research into the disease - which at present has no vaccine, and might not for months - has doctors worried. Some have estimated for every person that gets infected, they will infect up to four more.

Others have come to figures of 3.8, 3.3, and 2.6, all above the WHO's estimate of between 1.4 and 2.5.

It's also been discovered people can carry the virus without showing symptoms, doctors calling them "cryptic cases of walking pneumonia".

Only 5.1 percent of all cases in Wuhan have been identified, researchers in the UK estimate, with perhaps more than 11,000 infected by January 21.

"HOLY MOTHER OF GOD," Dr Eric Feigl-Ding wrote on his Twitter account on hearing the news.

"It is thermonuclear pandemic level bad... I'm not exaggerating.

Are the authorities not capable of doing more to assist their citizens trapped by this in Wuhan?

New Zealander trapped in Wuhan as coronavirus spreads

A New Zealand software technician trapped indefinitely in Wuhan by the coronavirus outbreak believes New Zealand should be doing more to get its people out of the city. 

Joanna, who wants only to be know by her first name, went to visit her father for the Chinese new year. 

She says hasn't left the house for five days because she's worried about catching the virus and a lot of information circulating is unreliable and pretty scary. 

Joanna describes the atmosphere in the city, where large gatherings and travel in and out of the city is banned. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed there are 21 New Zealanders registered as being in Wuhan, with MFAT receiving a small number of requests for consular assistance. 

It says it is aware that some countries are providing their citizens with assistance to depart Wuhan and is working with its offices in China and consular partner countries about how to assist New Zealanders in Wuhan.

Surgical masks were first introduced into hospitals in the late 18th Century but did not make the transition into public use until the Spanish flu outbreak in 1919 that went on to kill over 50 million people.
Dr Chris Smith, consultant virologist at Cambridge University, told RNZ people should not buy them and instead save their money.
"Go and spend it on something useful that you enjoy doing, like having a beer. Those face masks are absolute rubbish and they do nothing."
"Those face masks are absolute rubbish and they do nothing" - consultant virologist Dr Chris Smith

However, he did say they had a placebo effect.

Listen to Dr.Smith HERE

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