Ministry of Health outlines NZ pandemic strategy as coronavirus outbreak worsens globally

The Ministry of Health has today given details of a six-phase strategy to deal with pandemics that is being implemented in New Zealand in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, which is now spreading to many more countries outside China.

There are currently 79,774 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus worldwide, including 2628 fatalities, but these figures are constantly being updated.

The Ministry of Health's pandemic plan currently being used is the same one aimed at tackling an influenza pandemic and it consists of the following phases:

- Plan for It (planning and preparedness)
- Keep It Out (border management)
- Stamp It Out (cluster control)
- Manage It (pandemic management)
- Manage It: Post-Peak (transition to recovery; planning for resurgence)
- Recover from It (recovery).

New Zealand has no confirmed cases of the new virus and is at the second stage, keep it out (border management).

Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an extension to the China travel restrictions for another eight days.

Ministry of Health Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield also stated that the pandemic plan has already begun in New Zealand.

Ministry of Health preparing for pandemic as coronavirus cases outside China grow

“We are moving to plan as if a pandemic had already been declared,” he said at a press conference in Wellington.

He says the decision means protective medical equipment would be easily available to those needing it should an epidemic break out here.