Against the backdrop of the New Zealand share market falling heavily on Friday, a survey suggests nearly one in five New Zealanders have cancelled or changed travel plans because of the coronavirus outbreak and the Government says NZ has five confirmed coronavirus cases for a sixth consecutive day.
At the time of writing the NZX 5O index is down almost 8% off the back of big drops in international markets overnight. The Ministry of Health says for the sixth consecutive day, there are "no additional confirmed or probable cases" of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in New Zealand.
"Our case numbers remain unchanged. New Zealand has five confirmed cases based on positive test results and two probable cases. The two patients who had been in hospital – one confirmed case and one probable case, have both been discharged home and are recovering at home with daily checks by health staff," the Ministry of Health says.
Meanwhile a survey of 858 people between March 6 and 11 by online research agency Opinion Compare, the research arm of NZ Compare, shows 73% of New Zealanders don’t think coronavirus has affected them personally. However 69% are worried it’s going to affect the status of the economy in the next 6 to 12 months. Opinion Compare also says 18% of those surveyed have cancelled or changed travel plans.
Among those who do feel personally affected by coronavirus, they are most fearful of passing it onto their elderly relatives or their children, how it will affect themselves, or family members with autoimmune disease, having to cancel travel plans, and job losses or being unable to work because of the virus.
"Despite worries about the economy and the fears of those affected, the majority of respondents haven’t changed or delayed any major life decisions like buying a house or car, changing job, or investing in property or shares. However, 18% have cancelled or changed their travel plans," Opinion Compare says.
"Over half (53%) believe the Government is accurately reporting the severity of Coronavirus. Interestingly, only 10% have taken to stockpiling essentials and 85% believe the media has contributed to the hysteria around stockpiling."
And 60% feel the business they work for or own has been affected by Coronavirus, while 20% see supply chain issues, and 13% say wellbeing of staff is down.
"Interestingly there are a few businesses that say they are busier than ever due to their competitors having stock issues. Planning for Coronavirus seems to be taking up a lot of staff time for many and those who work in education seem most affected with students not coming from overseas."
"Procedures and special measures that have been taken on by businesses are reminders about general OH&S/hygiene policies with hand sanitisers readily available in all businesses. Some businesses are also getting ready for more staff to potentially work from home by providing laptops or remote access etc. Businesses have also cancelled international travel for staff and non-essential domestic travel," says Opinion Compare.