20 Feb

Coronavirus Update

The current outbreak of coronavirus (known officially as Covid-19) is spreading through China and slowly in the rest of the world, often starting in visitors from China.  The virus has infected significantly more people who have survived the infection, versus those who have died from the infection.  The picture is changing daily, so check out ZOOM Pharmacy’s latest Coronavirus update below.

The latest update, as at 24 February 2020, has over 79,000 people infected with over 2,470 deaths, 26 of which have been outside China. Find out the very latest and live statistics on the number of Covid-19 confirmed cases, recovered patients, and death toll by country here. There have been no reported cases within New Zealand at this time. Many of those who have died were people with existing medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.  

By comparison, the World Health Organisation estimates estimates that seasonal influenza causes 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 290,000 to 650,000 respiratory deaths WHO Fact Sheet.  

What are the symptoms?

The illness starts with a fever, followed by a dry cough. Around a week later shortness of breath appears which may require hospitalisation. 

The symptoms of a coronavirus infection are similar to other influenza-like diseases.  Having these symptoms does not mean you are infected with coronavirus. At present in NZ it is more likely that it is an infection caused by a less harmful virus. 

Coronavirus is difficult to avoid as it may be passed on by people who do not yet show obvious signs of being unwell.  The time between being in contact with an infected person and signs of infection in a second person is between one and 14 days. 

China has taken stringent measures to limit the spread of the illness by locking down Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak and significant travel restrictions across China.  NZ Government advice is to avoid travel to China  Safe Travel – Coronavirus.  New measures have been put in place for travellers to New Zealand who face temporary entry restrictions designed to minimise the risk of Covid-19 entering New Zealand. 

Minimsing global spread

China has taken stringent measures to limit the spread of the illness by locking down Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak and significant travel restrictions across China.  NZ Government advice is to avoid non-essential travel to China and not to travel to Hubei Province, where Wuhan is situated.

In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health have increased awareness at our borders and is working with the travel industry to ensure visitors to NZ are aware of how what to do if they feel unwell. The Ministry of Health is updating its advice daily, the latest advice is linked from this page of background information.

What should I do?

If you have travelled recently from Wuhan or the Hubei Province, or you have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed Covid-19 infection, isolate yourself for 14 days. 

Avoid situations where large numbers of people are present, e.g. schools, aged care facilities and public gatherings. 

If you feel unwell, call Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116.  If you need medical attention, call ahead and get advice on how to organise a visit to the doctor in a way that keep others safe. If you feel unwell you should avoid public gatherings and events. 

 To protect yourself and your family: 

  • regularly wash hands (for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap and dry thoroughly) 
  • cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and cough 
  • stay home if you are sick 
  • avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms 

More advice about preparing for an emergency can be found at GetReady.

Be prepared – get your meds delivered direct

At the time of this update routine use of face masks and antiviral medicines is not recommended. There is little data to support the use of oseltamivir or Tamiflu® for this infection and a vaccine could be a number of months away. 

For people who regularly take medicines ensure you have enough medicine at home to be able to isolate yourself for 14 days. Check out ZOOM Pharmacy’s medicine delivery service – direct to your door.

Talk to one of our ZOOM pharmacists about how ZOOM can help to make sure you have enough medicines for emergencies.

ZOOM does medicine delivery direct to your door, repeats organised for you. ZOOM brings the pharmacy to you – rather than you having to go to the pharmacy.

Be prepared. Get ZOOM to help you manage your meds. FreePhone 0508 966 622 or visit zoompharmacy.co.nz to find out more.