Date Published: 19 June 2009
NZ moves to management phase of H1N1 outbreak
New Zealand is moving to a ?manage it”phase as part of our response to the Influenza A (H1N1) outbreak. The shift in phase reflects the increased spread of the virus, rather than a change in the severity of the illness, especially in three of our main centres ? Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland. This has been predicted since the rapid spread started occurring in Australia.
The shift in New Zealand's response is in keeping with the World Health Organisation's assessment that the overall severity of the disease is moderate, but spreading globally. Most people recover from infection without the need for hospitalisation or medical care.
Efforts to adapt and introduce new measures are underway and these measures are expected to be in place by early next week. These measures include enabling community-based health services to manage large numbers of people with influenza as well as maintain services for patients with other illnesses. An important part of this approach includes individuals being prepared to look after themselves at home in the same way they would with seasonal flu.
Activities at the border will continue, providing health information to people arriving in New Zealand and advice as necessary.
The Ministry is not advising people to cancel social gatherings, sports events and travel. However, there are practical steps that individuals and communities can take to reduce the community spread of the virus. These steps include practising good hand hygiene and covering coughs and sneezes. If you are sick, stay home until you have fully recovered as you can easily spread the germs to others.
Information for the public is being constantly revised and improved to ensure people have easy access to comprehensive advice about the new Influenza A (H1N1) virus.
General information on the signs and symptoms of the new influenza, and advice on limiting the spread of infection and how to care for yourself at home are available on the Ministry of Health website. The Influenza A (H1N1) webpages have been upgraded to make it easier for people to find information.
Information and health advice can be accessed through Healthline 0800 611 116. The Ministry of Health is boosting the capacity of the Healthline call centre to try to reduce waiting times and the Ministry apologises for delays experienced by some people. Callers to Healthline seeking flu information who do not have symptoms should take the ?Press 1”option. They will hear the recorded information about Influenza A (H1N1) but can also opt to speak to an operator at anytime. Those with flu symptoms should ?Press 2” to speak to a registered nurse.
Regional phone numbers for advice are also being set up in some areas.