COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) update - February 20

News article

20 February 2020

Note: for the most recent information see our main COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) page.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield addresses media on 20th February 2020 at 3:30pm, to give an update on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

Update summary

  • Today's focus was around the return of a group of six New Zealanders from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
  • Dr Bloomfield outlined the travel arrangements for the six and told media that 2 people had tested positive for COVID-19 during pre-flight health checks in Japan. As a result, they're now being treated in hospital in Japan.
  • The remaining six had flown to Darwin and by the time of this media standup, had just taken off from Darwin on a charter flight to Whenuapai, along with a doctor and paramedic from St John.
  • They will reach Whenuapai later this evening and be transported to the Whangaparaoa Reception Centre.
  • Dr Bloomfield said Healthline was continuing to follow up with people who haven't registered as being in self-isolation and encouraged people to continue to register to enable health officials to continue to check on people's welfare and wellbeing while in self-isolation.
  • Dr Bloomfield reiterated Healthline's special, COVID-19 specific phone number for people to call - 0800 358 5453. 
  • The Director-General also talked about the Westerdam cruise ship, which had New Zealanders on board. Those passengers have returned to New Zealand, given advice by local public health staff and told to self-isolate. Healthline will be following up with the welfare and wellbeing of these passengers as they register.