COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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First COVID-19 case confirmed on the West Coast

Thursday 26 March 2020Health news3 minutes to read

As announced by the Director-General of Health and the Ministry of Health on 26 March a person on the West Coast has tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first confirmed case on the Coast and is a close contact of a confirmed case.

Case information

A man in his 60s is in self-isolation at home on the West Coast after recent travel to Wellington for a wedding. One member of his family who travelled with him is also in self-isolation.

  • The confirmed case he had contact with arrived from overseas and attended the wedding.
  • The West Coast man travelled on a domestic flight from Wellington to Christchurch before driving home in his own vehicle. The flight details will be provided on the Ministry of Health website. Any air travel contacts are being followed-up.
  • The risk to the West Coast community is very low as he and his family member immediately went into isolation when they were advised that they were contacts of a confirmed case.

“Over time we expect we will see more cases on the West Coast. Isolated cases linked to overseas travel, or close contact with a confirmed case will be followed up by public health teams to help stop the spread,” Dr Brunton said.

“Now is the time for increased vigilance and – if you are not already doing so – to follow the advice from the Ministry of Health. There is a mine of information on both the Ministry of Health web page and the government’s new website:

Prevention – how to protect yourself and others with good hygiene

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell (try to stay at least 2 metres away).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid personal contact with sick people, such as kissing and sharing cups or food.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Practice low-touch shopping. Do not handle things you are not buying, keep your distance, be aware of how you are touching things like bank cards, money, ATMs and Eftpos machines. Wash your hands after touching things like this as soon as you can.
  • If you are a business or provide a service: Increase your cleaning routine in between customers.
  • People living in communal spaces must be especially careful with distancing, cleaning and general hygiene.

Physical distancing is essential

  • Try to put physical distance (two metres) between yourself and other people in public places such as supermarkets.
  • Be kind to others: Make it easy for them to keep 2m from you – e.g., keep a 2m space in front of you in a supermarket queue, and stay 2m back from counters and reception desks.

Please stay home if you are sick

  • Do not go into any public places if you are feeling unwell and minimise close contact even in your home – ring ahead if you need a service.
  • Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have undertaken any overseas travel in the past 14 days, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19.
  • Please do not go directly to a pharmacy, GP clinic, urgent care centre or emergency department.



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Page last updated: 26 March 2020

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