Government bans indoor gatherings of 100+ people, excluding schools, workplaces, supermarkets and public transport; Tells people not to travel overseas; National wants borders closed

Government bans indoor gatherings of 100+ people, excluding schools, workplaces, supermarkets and public transport; Tells people not to travel overseas; National wants borders closed
David Clark

The Government is banning indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

The measures don’t apply to workplaces, schools, universities, supermarkets and public transport.

The ban is effective immediately. A timeframe hasn’t been put on it, as the situation is evolving.

The 500+ person gathering ban announced on Monday remains in force for outdoor gatherings.

The Government is working with the hospitality sector over the next 24 to 36 hours to develop guidelines to follow.

People who don't comply could face up to six months imprisonment or a fine of up to $4000 under the Health Act.

Eight new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Thursday, taking the total number of cases to 28.

The new cases all relate to overseas travel, meaning there’s no evidence of community transmission in New Zealand.  

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters on Thursday advised New Zealanders not to travel overseas. This is the first time the New Zealand Government has given such advice.

National Party Leader Simon Bridges supports the broadened gathering ban, but is calling for the borders to be closed to non-New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.

“The EU has closed its borders but it was too late to stop widespread community outbreak. We can’t make the same mistake. We are a small isolated nation and we should take advantage of our geographical position,” he said.

Peters said: “New Zealanders who travel overseas risk contracting COVID-19. At the same time, health care systems in many countries are under strain and do not have the capacity to support foreigners.

He urged New Zealanders travelling overseas to consider returning home immediately.

“Borders are closing. You may not be able to return to New Zealand when you had planned to. You should therefore organise to come home now,” he said.

“If you choose to remain overseas despite our advice, the ability of the New Zealand Government to provide consular assistance may be limited due to internal travel restrictions and the suspension of services.

“Those New Zealanders who are long-term residents outside New Zealand will need to consider their personal circumstances and do what is best for them and their family.”

On the gathering ban, Health Minister David Clark said: “The Ministry of Health has produced guidance to help people understand this direction, but if in doubt cancel. Making sure we put in place social distancing rules is one of the most important things we can do to protect the public.

“Large gatherings and events are a high risk environment for the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, because people often behave in ways that facilitate transmission at these events.

“People share food or drinks, sit or stand very close together for long periods of time and may cough or breathe on each other.

“Just because you don’t have 500 or 100 people doesn’t mean you can ignore appropriate hygiene measures. For any gathering or event you need to ensure people can stay further than one metre apart, and have the ability to wash and dry their hands thoroughly.

“Regardless of the size of a gathering, if someone is unwell, they shouldn’t attend.

“Anyone who has returned from overseas and needs to be in self-isolation must also stay away from gatherings. There shouldn’t be any grey area around this – if you’re meant to be in self-isolation, you don’t go to any gathering or event.

“Workplaces should, where practicable, practice physical distancing, with people no closer than one metre.

“In workplaces where physical distancing isn’t possible, workplaces should look at other measures which can be used to protect staff, such as working from home.”

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I have some horrible numbers to show.

This is the 11th day after NZ confirmed the first case, and now the total confirmed case in NZ is 28.

The number for US was 8, UK was 4, Canada was 4, AUS was 11.

A little more than one month time,

US has 6000+
UK has 2000
Canada has 400+
AUS has 450+

What would NZ look like in a month time???!!!

The next month is very very very critical for NZ!!!

NZ should avoid doing what the other four have done and look what China, S Korea, Singapore have done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the only opportunity!!! Do not screw up and I am serious!!!

Probably best to suspend all overseas flights for now: BBC Coronavirus: Asian nations faces second wave of imported cases. "South Korea, China and Singapore are among the Asian countries facing a second coronavirus wave, spurred by people importing it from outside.

China, where the virus first emerged, reported no new domestic cases on Thursday for the first time since it started recording numbers in January. But it reported 34 new cases among people recently returned to China".

Apples to oranges, of course.

Those countries all got cases much earlier than we did, and testing resources were much scarcer back when they had their first cases.

Our first case is much later, and community knowledge and concern around coronavirus is much higher so people are more likely to come forward for testing, and our testing regime is (recently) much better than it was in those countries at a comparable time.

No evidence of community transmission.......
Except... the Kiwi who possibly took Covid19 to Samoa (please wait 3-5 working days for the test results), and the 2 year old boy in South Africa.
10,000 NZ households voluntarily self isolated in the first few weeks. Golf claps.
You can thank the compliant and responsible NZ public for the low numbers so far, but without decisive action coming from the top, we are in a world of hurt in a month from now. And compliance and responsibility go out the window in a panic.
My sense is that they don't test for community spread because if they find just ONE, then they need to alter their approach to far more intrusive draconian measures, and they haven't finished breathing in yet from denouncing China's use of the same tactics - which by the way worked. Maybe they under-reported deaths by a factor, but maybe building a hospital in 10 days and patrolling the streets to enforce quarantine is the only way you get out of this, but China is nearly on the other side of it, they're sending doctors out everywhere, Italy, Iran, Spain. By the way, I'm not a China fanboy, screw China, but screw us more if we allow these pisspoor measures to hold sway for another week. Oooooh 500 people can't gather, that's going to do exactly squat, OOOHHH now it's 100 people, excluding public transport and schools, because viruses spare the schoolkids and the enviornmentally aware. Bollocks.
Chinese people did what they were told, or were forced to. Here, tourists run amok, people can't get through to Health line and we simply are NOT TESTING ENOUGH! Mark my words it will be dire. This level of complacency does not bode well in Darwinian evolution.

Until very recently, they WOULD NOT test anyone unless they had an explicit connection to either a foreign country that has a significant outbreak, or was directly connected to someone that tested positive that returned from overseas recently. Therefore, there cannot be any confirmed positive community transmission cases, their testing protocol defines that there cannot be any... In the next two weeks we will have significant community transmission cases. That is, if they ramp up from the claimed 550 tests/day capability that they said a couple days ago was plenty sufficient... A maximum of 550 tests per day capability in a population of ~ 5 million... can you imagine?

I'm looking forward to the personnel that do the testing protocol going on strike... they threatened to go on strike just a few days ago. It is as if NZ was settled via Akaroa instead of Christchurch!

Until very recently, they WOULD NOT test anyone unless they had an explicit connection This was/is a HUGE mistake by the authorities. The most recent data published in Science suggests that the vast majority (86%!!!) of all transmission occurs in asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients. The only way to get this under control is through aggressive testing and isolation.

To most people the symptoms are no worse than the common cold, breathing difficulties are experienced in extreme cases only. This is making people crazy but hang in people, dont lose heart, it is only a matter of time before it is solved. Keep the faith!

A thought-experiment: imagine the following 111 call line - er- Calls, to Police in a 2-minute interval for a given city, and kindly triage 'em....

  1. (child's voice) Uncle has just come back drunk - again - and is belting Mummy - again
  2. 3-car collision at the corner of Fifth and Vine, 2 seriously injured
  3. I'm a neighbour and I can hear screaming from No 13 - again
  4. There's someone climbing on my roof and it's not the Tooth Fairy
  5. I'm calling because there's a party across the road and I'm sure I've just seen the 101st person go in there...I've had my binocs on them for an hour now

Compliance for the greater good
Let's do as Singapore does....
Bring the number down, 5.
Makes it a car load.

Say $7,500 per head, on the spot.

To contain the disease known as COVID-19, Singapore has mobilized a system of state control that is one of the most efficient in the world. Authorities have aggressively isolated infections, tracked down and questioned their contacts, levied tough penalties for breaking quarantine or furnishing false information, and used friendly news outlets and social media to urge the public to remain vigilant while avoiding panic.

Move in right direction.

$4 000

And could be a while.......
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the unprecedented measures were likely be with Australia for six months at least.

Taiwan fines quarantine breakers up to NTD1,000,000 (about NZ$55,000]...

We need to be proactive about stopping the virus spreading other wise we're going to end up like Italy. BBC Italy coronavirus deaths rise by record 475 in a day! "Italy is the world's worst affected country after China, where the virus originated last year. At least 8,758 people have died, most in China".

The youngest Briton to die of coronavirus is 59 and had health issues. "Never Fear" as my father would say.

Any news on why the muck up on ordering ventilators?

We need to know the same ballsup will not be repeated.

Where I live:
a) Spring break for schools was pulled forward by 2 weeks
b) There will be 2 weeks e-learning from home after that, which starts next week.
I strongly suspect that the schools wont reopen & it will be e-learning until the end of the school year (end of June)

NZ really needs to consider the same, now, or as soon as the first case of community spread covid19 occurs.

I'm pretty sure that as soon as we see community spread in NZ, unless the authorities are very certain how it happened, the affected town/city will be placed in lockdown, including schools and businesses.

So why don't they tell us that now? Get people used to the idea and prepared. I am really despairing of their mushroom farming approach.

Yea? but consider this - so far as 19/3 at 4:30pm it's 28 persons, without the evidence of 'community transmission' - by the authority findings - yet? yesterday? it's announced Kiwis abroad to get back ASAP.. about around 80 thousands of them. I'm puzzled, on this - Do they knew? that the young strong generations can carry the bug without showing signs? more than 24days? even with multiple negative test, isolation.. back to the community.. how bad is that 'false negative' test.. Hmnn - very unsure about this particular calls.. return back.

Things in Oz not looking bright.

"The challenge is we have never had to ration our healthcare before in Australia so it is something the community is not used to," Dr Price, who is also a co-deputy chair of Victoria's RACGP, said.

"It is vital we ration our healthcare now to the people who are the sickest because we haven't even reached the peak of this yet. We don't want to get to a point like Italy where we are having to decide who lives and dies."

In another bad decision made in fear, I just got an email from Tennis NZ that all competitions (at social levels) are cancelled in NZ and they recommend all clubs to also cancel any tennis. I think this is a terrible decision, what we need in these tough times to preserve our mental health (and some fitnesses) is an activity which gives us a break from Covid, a physical activity we can enjoy, that is not a close contact sport… exactly like tennis

Just no doubles, and Don't play the net.

Go for a walk around the block.

Have just become a supporter of The best site for unbiased coverage and insightful discussion I can find - keep up the great work.

Sorry to say, but I think this bug really targeting those in very age brackets, that into cruise ships, rejecting the idea of CGT, accumulating RE wealth year in/out. But? sadly, to some in those age brackets was also a victim of greed eg. Financial company ponzi scheme, and as result? still put a brave face to work while in theory supposed to retired. World has been driven too long by Capitalism Banks system, greed driven. And? in the end when it's about to consume them by any factors outside their control? - The onus voice always shifted to Govt/public bail out request. Here's how they play it, when stable - any Govt of the day always facing lobbying difficulties when regulation need to be introduced to curb their 'ethical/non-ethical' practices. Profit always being made year in/out, then sudden downturn - and YIP, the voices is out there seeking help/assistance. Not a single one of them dare to tell citizens about their 'kindness' to shed the cost from their year in/out profit made.. C'mon - produce it please - the past 10-15yrs.

Yep. Predicting mass school closures in the near future. If you cant effectively work from home your now either unemployed or the business that pays you is about to be broke. Which is the same outcome for you. Damn. Will having beneficiary tenants now be a good thing?

Quick survey of three unrelated food prep places
All three have seen a 50% plus fall off of customers today.
One had this same fall off yesterday.

Only about a week too late on the borders :-(

Brian Tamaki has stated that he will defy the mass gathering ban.

Brian being staunch.. however he should do the right thing by the country and maybe break into smaller groups. It's not a ban on church services Brian, you might just find new and better ways to do things.

99 luft ballons...

There goes our TupperWare party guys....

Where do they get this figure of 100 from?

I hope this includes parliament.