TODAY |

Covid-19 expert Siouxsie Wiles urges Kiwis not to get complacent - and get tested

Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles says New Zealand is becoming complacent with getting tested for Covid-19 - but says Victoria is a good example of how quickly the virus can take off if not detected.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles said Victoria is a good example of how quickly Covid-19 can spread if people lose focus. Source: Breakfast

Speaking this morning to TVNZ1's Breakfast, Dr Wiles said despite New Zealand's border control and isolation systems working well, Kiwis still need to get tested as a preventative measure if they have any of the Covid-19 symptoms.

Those include a fever, shortness of breath, tight chest, a runny nose or losing the ability to smell.

Dr Wiles, a professor at Auckland Universityr, said the criteria for being tested for Covid-19 has been "a little wobbly" in the past, but said doctors had now been told in no uncertain terms to refer people for testing as a precautionary measure.

"You should be getting a test - and please don't refuse it," Dr Wiles said.

"GPs have said some people are refusing, but we don't know how many that is - yes, it's unpleasant, but it's very quick."

Dr Wiles said she herself had never required testing for Covid-19, but said she understands the unpleasantness of having something "stuffed up my nose".

She said "humans are humans", and that it's natural we may start to get lazy and go back to our old ways, but "we're in this for the long haul".

"We just have to make sure that all of our lines of defence are working really, really well."

Ms Wiles said Victoria in Australia is a good example of how a place can go from having almost no cases to having a large outbreak very quickly, if complacency sets in.

She said she had noticed a number of people recently in public not taking proper hygiene precautions, like washing their hands with soap for a full 20 seconds, and urged people to keep up the fight against Covid-19.