Infectious diseases expert on what Govt could be doing over coronavirus

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 10 Feb 2020, 11:22AM
Michael Baker thinks there is more the Government could be doing. (Photo / AP)

Infectious diseases expert on what Govt could be doing over coronavirus

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 10 Feb 2020, 11:22AM

The Prime Minister says voluntary self-isolation is still the right approach for stopping the spread of coronavirus.

New Zealanders returning from China are being asked to register for self-isolation.

But Heathline figures show most of the thousands of New Zealanders who have returned since travel restrictions were introduced eight days ago, haven't registered.

Jacinda Ardern told Mike Hosking New Zealand has yet to receive a single case of coronavirus.

"What we're doing is not out of step with any other country on this. In fact, we are on the upper end in terms of our travel restriction."

She says they aren't considering forced quarantines, or more extensive travel restrictions.

"We are not considering under travel. We've based our decision on the opinion of our public health officials, basically."

Otago University infectious diseases expert Michael Baker says the Government is taking positive steps to control the virus.

But he told Mike Hosking it could still be doing more.

"I would like to see more focus on travellers who are arriving and making that they are complying.

"The other thing is using this time we've got to prepare the public for what could become a pandemic."

He says the Government needs to be stricter about isolating those individuals.

"I would like to see much greater effort put into what happens when they arrive back in New Zealand and greater emphasis on home quarantine."

Evacuees from Wuhan are still under compulsory quarantine in Auckland.

Meanwhile, two New Zealanders and dozens of others have contracted the virus, on a cruise ship under quarantine at Japan's Yokohama.

And the global death toll from the disease has reached 813 - surpassing the death toll from SARS.

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