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The China Coronavirus outbreak

Selwyn's approach

We will update this page regularly for family and friends of The Selwyn Foundation. For the sake of residents in our villages, we ask that you heed our recommendations to limit the risk of our residents and staff contracting the virus.

Reviewed 18 February, no updates since 7 February 2020

Facts will allay fears

The outbreak of the Coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan has caught global media attention. Rightfully so as in the worst-case scenario the outbreak could escalate into a more significant health problem with global implications.

The spread of the virus outside China is worrying but not unexpected. The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). The key issues are two-fold. How transmissible between humans this new coronavirus is and what proportion of those who contract the virus will become severely ill and end up in hospital?

No cause for panic

At this stage and particularly for those living in New Zealand, and in the various Selwyn villages, there is no cause to panic.

New Zealand Government Agencies have stepped up the response to the Coronavirus and Immigration New Zealand has placed a temporary entry restriction on certain travellers from or transiting through mainland China.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health has not put any special measures in place at this time and in all likelihood will follow the same protocols used for other outbreaks and as directed by the World Health Organisation. These tried and true ‘best practice’ procedures have proven effective. For latest updates, visit the The New Zealand Ministry of Health site.

Coronaviruses are not new. They are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the virus causes respiratory infections. These are typically mild and include the common cold and influenza. In rarer forms like SARS and MERS, the health implications can become more serious.

How widespread is the virus?

Visit John Hopkins CSSE site to view regularly updated data on the number of confirmed cases of people who have contracted the virus by Country/Region, the total number of people who have recovered from the virus, and total number of deaths.

As with all Coronavirus, those in poor health and the elderly are perhaps most affected as the condition can elevate to pneumonia.

What precautions should you take?

The most sensible precautions are to continue with hand hygiene, especially after contact with ill people or their environment. We recommend you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap and dry thoroughly.

Other measures include avoiding close contact with people suffering acute respiratory infections, or with cold or flu-like symptoms, sick farm or wild animals.

If family members or friends happen to have visited China recently please do not visit your loved ones living at Selwyn for 14 days to make sure no symptoms emerge. We will assist in facilitating alternative methods of contact for you over this period.

If you are suffering with cold or flu-like symptoms, we encourage you to stay home, avoid public gatherings and events and cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze with disposable tissues or clothing and, then wash your hands.

If you are sick after arriving into New Zealand telephone Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116 and explain that you have just arrived in New Zealand from overseas.

What precautions is The Selwyn Foundation taking?

As a further precaution and peace of mind initiative The Selwyn Foundation is putting the following actions in place:

  1. Any localised outbreak will be managed using our Outbreak Management Procedure.
  2. All staff who have travelled to mainland China, (or who have had contact with family or friends who have travelled to mainland China will be excluded from the workplace for 14 days from the date of their arrival in New Zealand. The Foundation will provide 14 days discretionary leave for staff who have travelled to China or any who have been identified by airlines as having possible exposure due to travellers on their flight becoming ill.
  3. Where staff who have travelled become ill with cold and flu symptoms a clearance certificate from their doctor is requested before they can return to work.
  4. Any staff with related illness who have been in contact with travellers from mainland China or travellers on flights where the airlines have advised possible exposure will take instructions as to the best course of action.
  5. All contractor staff will also be excluded from the workplace, should they have travelled or had contact with people who have travelled through mainland China.

In the meantime should you or your loved ones develop cold or flu like symptoms see your GP if you are overly concerned. With the ‘flu season’ looming getting a vaccination is something that should be considered.