INDEPENDENT NEWS

Action On Indoor Gatherings And Events To Protect Public Health

Published: Thu 19 Mar 2020 03:35 PM
The Government has reinforced its commitment to protecting the health of New Zealanders from COVID-19 through the cancellation of indoor events with more than 100 people.
“Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority, and that means we need to reduce the risks associated with large gatherings,” Health Minister David Clark said.
“On Monday the Prime Minister announced gatherings and events of 500 or more people outside should be cancelled. Today we are extending that advice to gatherings of 100 people indoors.
“These measures don’t apply to workplaces, schools, supermarkets or public transport.
“We know this has specific implications for the hospitality sector. We will work with the sector over the next 24-36 hours to develop guidance.
“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,” David Clark said.

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