Coronavirus: People who refuse to self-isolate could be fined

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 16 Mar 2020, 1:32PM
Director of Health Ashley Bloomfield. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Director of Health Ashley Bloomfield. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Coronavirus: People who refuse to self-isolate could be fined

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 16 Mar 2020, 1:32PM

People who refuse to self-isolate during the coronavirus crisis could be fined, health officials say.

Australia is considering fining those who failed to follow self-isolation and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield confirmed this country was also considering such a move.

Bloomfield said the fines are being discussed at Government level and it has been raised with the Attorney General's office.

"We are doing this to ensure New Zealand and New Zealanders are protected from having a severe impact from Covid-19."

Queensland officials say those who arrive in the country and refuse to follow self-isolation requirements could be fined up to $13,000. Police could also check if the requirements were being honoured.

There are no new coronavirus cases in New Zealand today, with the total remaining at eight.

As of this morning New Zealand had eight confirmed coronavirus cases.

Tourists who come to New Zealand and were travelling around in a campervan should not be using shared campground facilities or visiting popular tourist destinations, Bloomfield said.

One thousand tourists arrived at Auckland Airport this morning, Bloomfield said, and on a typical Monday morning that number was usually over 2000 - so there had already been a significant reduction, he said.

Health officials revealed yesterday that two more confirmed coronavirus cases had emerged - one in Wellington and one in Queenstown. Both involved travellers from overseas who were self-isolating.

The Wellington case, a dance teacher from Townsville, was symptom-free and remained self-isolated in a hotel room, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said today.

Contact tracing on the two new patients' flights has been changed to two seats in all directions from the confirmed case - in front, beside, behind and diagonal.

Healthline knew the relevant seat numbers for all the flights with confirmed cases on board and would contact those people who need to self-isolate.

The health call centre was dealing with heavy demand from callers at the weekend and should not be contacted for travel information.

Bloomfield said a passenger on the Golden Princess cruise ship at Akaroa yesterday had tested negative and the cruise ship has returned to Melbourne.

The other cruise ships in New Zealand waters all have health staff on board and were cleared of any health concerns before arriving in New Zealand.

Bloomfield encouraged New Zealanders to welcome those tourists on board.

He also thanked the thousands of people undergoing self-isolation.

"I have great confidence in the trustworthiness of the many people to be doing this for the benefit of all New Zealanders," he said.

"You can still enjoy biking or walking or running, of course alone... you should avoid having visitors to your home.

"You can use public transport for the sole purpose of getting to your home, but you should not after."

Bloomfield said you should minimise the time you spent in shared spaces in homes, such as bathrooms, living rooms and kitchens. Beds and linens should not be shared.