Update: Monday 20th April 2020 (New Zealand)
Today Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced we will be moving to Alert Level 3 on Monday 27 April at 11.59pm.
In today’s press conference Ardern had the following updates:
- We have done what very few countries have been able to do.
- Our transmission rate, the number of cases each person with the virus passes it onto, is now 0.48, less than half a person each.
- Overseas the average is 2.5 people. We have amongst the lowest number of confirmed cases per 100,000 people in the world.
- Our testing scaled up and we have now tested over 85,000 New Zealanders, one of the highest testing rates per capita in the world.
- The Director-General of Health is confident that there is currently no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand.
In short, the effort of our team of 5 million has broken the chain of transmission and taken a quantum leap forward in our goal to eliminate the virus.
Read more here: https://covid19.govt.nz/latest-updates/new-zealand-be-at-alert-level-3-from-tuesday-28-april/
UPDATE: Tuesday 14th April 2020, 5pm (New Zealand)
There was mixed news at today’s press conference, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that it had been New Zealand’s ‘deadliest day to date’.
Four people died overnight, including three men in their 80s and 90s, who were Rosewood Rest Home residents. A man in his 70s died in Wellington, his case was associated with overseas travel. This brings the total number of deaths in New Zealand to nine.
Despite the sad news of the deaths, the curve continues to flatten with recovered cases outstripping the number of new cases. 17 new or probable cases were announced today, but 82 others have recovered.
The government also said in a press release that it was expecting to receive around 10 million items of PPE this week. 9 million of these items are procedure masks (or equivalent) and 18 million items are expected next week. A new national ordering process for DHBs has been set up to distribute masks and other PPE. DHBs will place their first orders under the new system tomorrow morning, with deliver expected by the end of the week.
Health and disability service providers can expect to receive stock by early next week.
NEW ZEALAND UPDATE 09/04/20, 11am
New Zealand’s strict lockdown measures appear to be working. Yesterday marked two weeks since level 4 isolation measures were put in place.
After a record number of tests conducted on Sunday (5th April), the number of new cases appear to be dropping; just 54 new cases were recorded on Tuesday. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “I have cautious optimism, but now is the time to stay the course”.
There are 1,210 cases, with 282 recovered and one death. The Southern DHB is managing the largest number of cases at 195. Just 2% of cases are said to be from community transmission.
Recognising that social distancing and lockdown measures can take their toll on mental health, the government yesterday launched a new campaign. The health minister highlighted that the usual places people might go for support, like GPs, are still available but that appointments may be through a phone call or online video link. A page on the government website contains useful links and resources, including information on how to talk to children and how to support someone with substance use and/or gambling problems.
NEW ZEALAND UPDATE: Friday 2nd April 2020, 11am
NEW ZEALAND UPDATE: 3 pm, Monday 30th March 2020
At 11:59pm, Wednesday 25th March, New Zealand officially went into lockdown and the country’s alert level was raised to level 4 (the highest level). All public spaces are closed and everyone has been asked to stay at home unless they are working in essential services.
Supermarkets and pharmacies remain open.
Travelling for work during lockdown
Doctors and nurses are considered essential services and you are still allowed to travel to and from placements. You may be asked to prove that you are travelling for work, so we suggest you carry the following with you:
• Photo ID
• MCNZ printout
• Copy of your locum hospital contract
• Hospital contact details
Some hospitals have decided to cancel staff leave/holidays and are no longer using locums, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While we understand the well-intentioned motives behind this, MedRecruit is concerned that cancelling leave and making staff work longer hours will affect the health and well-being of our frontline staff. At this critical time, it is more important than ever that you can take time to prioritise your own health and well-being.
Founding director Dr Sam Hazledine has written to hospitals and DHBs, suggesting New Zealand considers a similar approach to Western Australia’s Medical Workforce Unit. There, deployment is based on a risk matrix that accounts for the type of work they’ve completed in the previous four weeks, the location of this work and the vulnerability of the population now requiring their service. After considering the potential risks, it has to allay DHB concerns over Covid-19 risk.
This approach could help make sure that hospitals and clinics are well-staffed without driving existing staff to burnout.
Another concern for doctors’ health and well-being in New Zealand is the lack of PPE. Some of Dr Sam’s medical school class-mates have penned an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Director of General Health and the Ministry of Health, asking that the guidelines are re-assessed, and that authorities work with the community to ensure that any gaps in the PPE chain are filled.
The letter reads: “It is imperative that we protect our essential workers and in particular our healthcare workers who are most at risk. In this hour of need, healthcare workers are putting their lives on the line for all New Zealanders. Healthcare workers are not easily replaced if they become sick or have to enter self-isolation. The added difficulty though is that these are the exact people who are unable to maintain a small bubble as they go about their work seeing and caring for patients.”
If you are a New Zealand doctor, please consider lending your support to this.
Together is the only way to fight this. You can find the open letter here.
MARCH 22, 5PM (New Zealand)
For: All doctors with current or upcoming placements
On Monday 23rd March, 1:44PM, the New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, announced that the country’s alert level has been raised to 3 and will be raised to level 4 on Wednesday.
At alert level 4, all schools and public spaces (like bars, restaurants and libraries) will close. Everyone in New Zealand has been asked to stay at home and isolate themselves. You can find out more about this here.
Essential services are exempt from this and so doctors who have current or upcoming placements should continue as ‘normal’.
What you need to know
All placements current and upcoming are going ahead as planned and your Solutions Specialist will let you know if there are any changes.
The travel restrictions imposed by the New Zealand Government earlier today do not apply to doctors who are on their way to, or returning from placements. Doctors are classed as ‘essential services’ and your Solutions Specialist will provide you with a letter to carry with you when travelling to placements to outline this.
You may find that there are fewer transport options for you, plan around this if you can. If you have any problems, contact your Solutions Specialist who will be happy to help.
Business as (almost) normal for MedRecruit
As a company, we planned and prepared for the possibility of a lockdown and increased demand a few weeks ago. All our team members have everything they need to work from home and during the lockdown, we’ll continue to operate as usual.
We are here for you. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Solutions Specialist.