There are still many questions on Kiwis’ minds as the entire country enters a four-week coronavirus lockdown.
Microbiologist and expert in her field, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, appeared on TVNZ1’s Breakfast to answer some of those questions this morning.
Top of the list is for those over 70 years old. On March 21, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared New Zealand was at level two of a four level Covid-19 alert system. Among the guidelines and restrictions for level two, Kiwis who were high-risk were advised to remain at home - including those over 70 or those with other existing medical conditions. Dr Wiles says that still stands today at level four.
Can over 70s go to the supermarket?
You need to have a support network that’s going to do your shopping for you, because every time you leave you heighten the risk.
Should we be washing our fruit and vegetables when we get back from the supermarket?
That is a perfect precaution to take. Pop a bit of washing up liquid in the sink and rinse them in that and then that would be acting exactly how we wash our hands, then rinse them off with water.
Can flies transfer coronavirus from infected surfaces?
There is absolutely no evidence of that, so focus on the washing of hands and the quarantine. We know that the virus only survives on surfaces of things for up to three days.
If I get called up as a nurse, can my children in share-care go back to their dad who is in a neighbouring city? I live in Tauranga and he lives in Rotorua.
That’s a tricky one. I guess if they have no other care then it would have to happen. But it would need to happen before she goes back to work.
Are we allowed to get in our car and drive to a nicer place to walk?
The police are asking us not to do that and the main reason is if your car broke down or if you had an accident then you’re putting the first responders at risk because they will have to come to you and help you. The Prime Minister was very clear: Stay close to your family, stay close to your home. Minimise all of these sort of trips.
Can you get the virus twice?
We don't have a huge amount of information about that. As China comes out of their lockdown then we might see some more indications.
Can you still go for an ultrasound if you are pregnant?
Call up your GP or your hospital they will let you know.
Can someone who lives alone be in contact with one family member as long as you both are not sick?
It depends on the age of everybody. If you have someone who is a similar age to you and lives close to you then you can form your own little bubble. If you’re an older person and your family member is younger then it is much safer for you to stay in your own bubble.
If you are in lockdown with a friend working in essential services, what do you need to do?
It depends whether they are in any of the categories of people who are more likely to have a nasty go of this virus - if they are older or have diabetes or something like that. If that is the case, it may be safer for them to move into their own place, say an Airbnb or something. The chances of bringing something home is much greater if you are in one of these essential services.
For more information visit the Covid-19 website.