Stay the course, save lives

Daily life on our beau­ti­ful coast has changed for at least four weeks while NZ fights Covid-19. By iso­lat­ing our­selves at home, we have the chance to stop the coro­n­avirus threat.

Coastal News - - Front Page - By ALI­SON SMITH

The Coro­man­del is locked down. Af­ter a week in which

the Covid-19 virus was trans­mit­ted in the na­tion’s com­mu­ni­ties — though not, as of Mon­day 23 March, on the Coro­man­del — Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern called for calm and kind­ness.

“We can stop the spread by stay­ing at home and re­duc­ing con­tact,” she said as she an­nounced the move to a na­tion­wide level 4 pan­demic alert.

“We are now ask­ing all New Zealan­ders who are out­side es­sen­tial ser­vices to stay at home, and to stop all in­ter­ac­tion with oth­ers out­side of those in your house­hold . . . ”

She said it is our “best chance” to slow the virus and save lives.

“You can leave your home for fresh air, a walk, for ex­er­cise, to take your chil­dren out­side. But please re­mem­ber this sim­ple prin­ci­ple. It must be soli­tary. Only spend time with those you are in self­iso­la­tion with, and if you are out­side, keep your dis­tance from oth­ers. That means two me­tres at all times.”

She said in the short term the num­bers in­fected will likely rise and to stop com­mu­nity trans­mis­sion, these mea­sures must be in place for four weeks.

She urged peo­ple to only buy what they needed when they needed it from su­per­mar­kets.

“We will not run out of food.”

With­out these mea­sures an­nounced, “up to tens of thousands” of New Zealan­ders could die from Covid-19, she said.

On the Coro­man­del, all pub­lic venues such as li­braries, pools, gyms, and coun­cil ser­vice cen­tres are closed un­til fur­ther no­tice. All schools and early child­hood cen­tres are closed and the Easter school hol­i­days have been brought for­ward.

All restau­rants, bars, cafes and any place where the pub­lic con­gre­gate are closed.

As of the end of last week, com­mu­nity vol­un­teers and some re­tail­ers had al­ready be­gun free de­liv­er­ies for those self-iso­lat­ing due to Covid-19, some re­port­ing a boost to busi­ness from bach own­ers es­cap­ing the city.

Calls were made in the com­mu­nity for Hot Water Beach hot pools to be shut to vis­i­tors.

At Matarangi, the Four Square store had since Mon­day pro­moted free

de­liv­er­ies for those self-iso­lat­ing. Owner Dar­ren Walker says his busi­ness was 70 to 80 per cent busier than the same time last year.

“We don’t want any mup­pet com­ing into our store that’s in self­iso­la­tion. The re­sponse has been awe­some.

“One woman drove down in a car left at the air­port for her, and she parked in the carpark leav­ing her card on the top of the car. One of the girls sprayed the card with sani­tiser and the woman talked through what she wanted on the phone while parked out­side. We left the goods out­side for her and she just loaded the box into the car.”

He be­lieved there were more bach own­ers on the Coro­man­del, self-iso­lat­ing.

“They don’t want to be in the city, they’re com­ing down here to be at the beach.”

Port Rd Bak­ery was among the first in Whanga­mata to shut its doors — from 22 March — say­ing it could not take the risk of ex­po­sure to the virus due to hav­ing im­mu­nity-com­pro­mised fam­ily mem­bers.

The Repco Beach Hop 20 team closed Beach Hop Cen­tral at Whanga­mata Club prior to Mon­day’s an­nounce­ment. Ini­tially it was to have opened for mer­chan­dise sales. The event is post­poned to Novem­ber 25-29.

“All we ask is for peo­ple to show some love and re­spect for each other and keep well,” the Beach Hop team stated.

Whanga­mata RSA had closed by Sun­day, and will not be host­ing an An­zac pa­rade or Poppy Day.

Whanga­mata Lions are the lat­est to can­cel their event — the

Run Walk Fes­ti­val was to be its 25th this year, says or­gan­iser Mau­rice Shep­pard.

Whanga­mata Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Trust doors closed ear­lier than the Prime Min­is­ter’s an­nounce­ment, op­er­at­ing by ap­point­ment only.

“We will still be ac­cept­ing re­fer­rals and re­quests for sup­port, but we en­cour­age you to con­tact us via tele­phone 07 8657065, leave us a mes­sage on Face­book or email ad­min@whangacst.co.nz,” says man­ager Monique Gard­ner.

All ther­apy and bud­get­ing ses­sions will be by phone and there will be no home vis­its. Food parcels will be de­liv­ered out­side re­cip­i­ents’ homes.

“This will be reviewed weekly and is sub­ject to change in line with rec­om­men­da­tions from the Min­istry of Health and Gov­ern­ment guide­lines,” says Monique.

Whanga­mata Po­lice are call­ing for calm as they say lo­cal so­cial me­dia sites reached “hys­te­ria” over Covid-19.

“It is ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial that you fol­low only of­fi­cial in­for­ma­tion from of­fi­cial New Zealand sources,” says Sergeant Will Hamil­ton, whose full mes­sage is fea­tured in this week’s Po­lice Re­port.

● The Coastal News is a com­mu­nity news­pa­per with a weekly dead­line and there­fore can­not pro­vide up-to-the-hour in­for­ma­tion. Please visit www. covid19.govt.nz for of­fi­cial in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice.

● If you’re not sure who to con­tact for help, call the free gov­ern­ment helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am - 1am, 7 days a week).

● Got symp­toms? Call your GP — do not visit. Or call Health­line on 0800 358 5453.

PHOTO / SARAH CHRIS­TENSEN

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