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Coronavirus has brought with it many challenges for us here in Clutha-Southland.

As 85% of New Zealand’s international flights are affected, it also means there are significant implications for our tourism destinations like the Catlins.

Luckily we are on the back end of Summer and we have made it through the peak of the season before measures to control this virus have had to be put in place.

The Government announced over the weekend measures put in place to stop the spread of Coronavirus here in New Zealand.

Effective from midnight Sunday just been, all travellers will have to self-isolate for 14 days on their arrival to New Zealand, with those arriving from the Pacific Islands exempt.

All cruise ships have been asked to not come to New Zealand until June 30.

Essential air freight will still be allowed to enter the country for things like pharmaceuticals, and all of these restrictions will be reviewed in 16 days.

I have also had a briefing from the Southern District Health Board regarding the confirmed case of COVID-19 reported in Queenstown.

They are leading the response with the Ministry of Health.

Despite the consequences, I have been reassured they are taking all necessary measures and acting swiftly to keep our community safe.

They have managed to track the small number of customers who were on the adventure activity with the infected person on Thursday last week.

They are in self-isolation.

Public health officials are also working hard identifying the close contacts in the restaurant.

The key in all of this is being informed.

The symptoms are a cough, high temperature of at least 38 degrees, and shortness of breath.

Prevention is vital.

Make sure you cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues, put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately, wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds) and try to avoid close contact with unwell people.

Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean, avoid personal contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or food with sick people, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs, and stay home if you feel unwell.

Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have been to any countries or territories of concern or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19.

We have got through this before and we will get through this again.

As Winston Churchill has said, “the only thing to fear is fear itself.”

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