Updated 3 February 2020
There are still no confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in New Zealand. The Ministry of Health is updating their website daily and AcNZ members are advised to check there if they have any concerns. There has now been person to person transmission of the virus and the first death outside China has been confirmed. AcNZ members are advised to stay well informed but whilst numbers of those contracting the virus is still increasing, be aware that many people have already recovered.
Something to consider:
If you know of anyone - family member, friend or colleague who has recently been to China and currently is self-isolating, then be kind. Check (by text, email or phone) on how they are and perhaps offer to drop off anything they may need - whether it be fresh food or general household requirements. Leaving things at the door or on an outside table and waving to your friend through the window is not going to put you in any danger.
From the MoH website:
"Travellers recently returned from mainland China
Recognising the evolving nature of the evidence and data for transmission of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Health advice for people who are at high risk of exposure because they have recently been to Wuhan or Hubei province, China is that they should self-isolate for 14 days after leaving mainland China.
This means you should avoid situations that could facilitate the transmission of the virus such as social gatherings and events where you come into contact with others; in particular child care/pre-school centres, primary and secondary schools (including staff and students), aged care, health care facilities, prisons, public gatherings."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) have updated their travel advisory and now recommend that New Zealanders do not travel to any part of mainland China.
"In order to reduce the chances of 2019-nCoV spreading within New Zealand, additional border measures have been implemented, with effect from midnight on 2 February 2020.
These measures will deny entry to New Zealand for anyone who has left or transited through mainland China after midnight on 2 February 2020, with the exception of:
- New Zealand citizens (including those from the three Countries of the Realm: Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands), permanent residents and their immediate family
- Air crews on direct flights from mainland China who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). "
Wednesday 29 January
The Acupuncture NZ Council has been approached by members concerned about the novel coronavirus situation that is developing particularly in China but also in several countries throughout the world. We are closely following the information being provided by the Ministry of Health as well as reports in the media. The following quote is from the Ministry of Heath website on Tuesday afternoon:
“In January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed a new type of coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, which affects the respiratory system. The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation and following guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO). The likelihood of an imported case in New Zealand is high, however the likelihood of an ongoing outbreak remains low.”
The Ministry has a separate page on their website providing information on all aspects of the condition. The incubation period of the disease is considered to be up to 14 days and so far it is affecting mainly older people or those with pre-existing conditions.
Toward the bottom of the page is a link to a document providing specific advice for health professionals.
The Ministry advises that health professionals monitor this page for ongoing updates and the AcNZ Council reinforces this.
The Minister of Health, Dr David Clark, announced on Tuesday that the coronavirus will be formally classified as a notifiable disease by the 30th of January. This will enable the Ministry to more easily be able to follow the progression of the disease and to follow up with anyone who may have been in contact with someone who has been identified as having the disease.
At the time of writing, there have been no identified cases of coronavirus in New Zealand and the Ministry is confident that the correct measures are in place should this change. Although other countries such as Australia, France and the USA have announced that the disease has been positively identified, up until Tuesday 28 January, all of those who have tested positive so far have come into the country concerned from China. (There has since been a report in the Guardian newspaper that there has been one secondary case identified in Germany.)
Many of our members regularly travel to China and with the New Year celebrations happening at the moment it is very likely that some of our members have travelled there in recent days. The Ministry of Education has requested that schools who accept students from China do not allow those students to attend school until they have been back in New Zealand for 14 days and the incubation period of the disease has passed. It would be wise for any of our practitioners who have been to China, particularly to Wuhan specifically and Hubei province more generally, follow the same guideline.
At this stage there is a need for members to be aware and to be informed but there is no need to be alarmed.
The symptoms of coronavirus do vary but most commonly present as fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may appear as early as 2 days after exposure to the virus to as late as 14 days.
When taking the initial history from a patient in the coming weeks, ask the additional question about whether or not they have recently travelled to China, particularly to Wuhan.
The very best way to avoid infection is through regular hand washing and good etiquette around coughing and sneezing – cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bent elbow and not directly onto your hands, dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands.
Should anyone present at your clinic who you suspect may have been exposed to the coronavirus or in fact has any symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, then insist they contact their General Practitioner (by phone rather than by attending the clinic) or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for the best advice on what they need to do. Healthline has translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages and they do have Mandarin and Cantonese speaking staff available.
It appears that traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners are being well involved in the response to the outbreak in China. Using the best of both sides of medicine may well provide the best of outcomes. We have posted a couple of articles onto the Acupuncture NZ Facebook page – one being an account which has been translated by Will Ceuvels who is from the UK but resident in Taiwan about the differential diagnosis of the coronavirus in TCM terms. Well worth reading.
On Saturday morning 25 March, Kim Hill interviewed Dr Chris Smith, consultant virologist at Cambridge University about the coronavirus. That interview can be listened to here:
Please feel free to contact the Council should you have any concerns. You can go directly to the office or use the Members Voice email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Acupuncture NZ Council