I understand many of you will be worried in light of recent events regarding COVID-19. The reality is that this is an unprecedented event and I don’t blame you for having concerns. But I encourage everyone to keep calm and follow advice from public health officials and do your best to limit contact and slow the spread of this virus.
Our response as a country needs to be swift and comprehensive. Our isolation is an asset and we should be vigorously defending our borders to slow the spread of this virus.
It has been good to see the Government treat the situation with more urgency over the last couple of weeks. The decision to ban large gatherings is one I am fully supportive of and I am looking forward to seeing more detail about exactly how self-isolation will work and how it will be enforced. This is critically important.
Testing for the virus is essential to our response and I think we should be doing more of it as a country. The World Health Organisation has made it very clear that test, test, test is the attitude we should have and currently New Zealand isn’t hitting that benchmark. The time has come to widen New Zealand’s coronavirus testing criteria so anyone displaying symptoms can get checked.
We want thousands to be tested so we have the best information and we can make the best decisions and take the decisive action that we require in our national response to COVID-19.