Covid-19 in our patch

The Timaru Herald - - Front Page - Samesh Mo­han­lall samesh.mo­han­lall@stuff.co.nz

Two cases of coro­n­avirus have been con­firmed in South Can­ter­bury

Two cases of Covid-19 have been con­firmed in South Can­ter­bury.

Nigel Trainor, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the South Can­ter­bury Dis­trict Health Board, could not con­firm which part of the re­gion the cases were from, but said they were not un­der hospi­tal care.

The two South Can­ter­bury cases were among 78 new cases con­firmed in New Zealand yes­ter­day. These 73 new con­firmed cases and five prob­a­ble cases bring the na­tional to­tal to 283.

‘‘The first case is a male in his 20s, who is a close contact of a con­firmed case. He is re­cov­er­ing well at home in self-iso­la­tion,’’ Trainor said.

‘‘The sec­ond case is a male in his 60s, af­ter re­cent travel to Eng­land. He is re­cov­er­ing well at home in self­iso­la­tion.’’

Trainor said he ex­pected to see more cases in South Can­ter­bury.

‘‘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.’’

Trainor said it was a time for in­creased vig­i­lance with New Zealand now on level 4, the max­i­mum Covid-19 alert level.

‘‘I would like to ask the South Can­ter­bury com­mu­nity to take re­spon­si­bil­ity, and do its best en­sure the num­ber of coro­n­avirus in­fec­tions re­mains low in South Can­ter­bury.

‘‘We can do this by staying at home and prac­tice phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing by keep­ing a 2 me­tre dis­tance if you’re in the com­mu­nity us­ing an es­sen­tial service.’’

He said contact trac­ing was un­der way with Pub­lic Health staff, and close con­tacts had been asked to self-iso­late for 14 days from the date of po­ten­tial ex­po­sure to the virus.

Po­lice dealt with a num­ber of peo­ple not com­ply­ing with Covid-19 lock­down rules in Ti­maru yes­ter­day, Ao­raki Area Com­man­der In­spec­tor Dave Gaskin said.

‘‘We’ve seen a num­ber of peo­ple out driv­ing their cars, driv­ing down to the beach to walk their dogs and they can’t do that,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s quite clear, peo­ple have been told you can ex­er­cise from your house, you can’t drive any­where to ex­er­cise, you can ex­er­cise from your house and that’s all you can do.’’

Gaskin said he thought the non­com­pli­ance was due to ‘‘ig­no­rance more than any­thing else’’ but that peo­ple needed to ap­pre­ci­ate the sever­ity of the sit­u­a­tion.

‘‘In lock­down peo­ple need to un­der­stand the more time they keep away from ev­ery­one the more chance we have of sav­ing lives,’’ he said.

‘‘This is not a holiday and that’s the mes­sage we need to get out. Peo­ple must stay at home.’’

He echoed the words of Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern, that peo­ple must stay within their ‘‘bub­ble’’ of con­tacts and have as lit­tle contact as pos­si­ble with any­one else.

‘‘For in­stance, you can’t go to the su­per­mar­ket with your whole fam­ily. You can’t go out with your whole fam­ily. There’s no ex­cuse go­ing out more than one at a time,’’ Gaskin said.

‘‘We have been stop­ping a lot of peo­ple to­day [Thurs­day] and we will con­tinue stop­ping peo­ple for a pe­riod of time un­til our pa­tience wears thin and then we won’t be do­ing any more ed­u­ca­tion.’’

Gaskin said they were also aware of a num­ber of non-es­sen­tial busi­nesses open­ing yes­ter­day and were work­ing with busi­ness own­ers to ed­u­cate them on the re­stric­tions.

JOHN BIS­SET/STUFF

Ti­maru was al­most de­serted on the first day of the level 4 lock­down.

BEJON HASWELL/STUFF

Ti­maru po­lice found a num­ber of peo­ple breach­ing the lock­down con­di­tions.

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