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Current Waiheke Island Update

Current Waiheke Island Update

Actions resulting from the claimed release of Foot and Mouth Disease on Waiheke Island continue.

MAF and the Police consider the claim a hoax, but given the significant implications, have to treat the claim seriously. No sign of disease has been found, and New Zealand remains foot and mouth disease free.

Operation Waiheke is now very much into the surveillance phase. All stock on Waiheke Island will be checked every 48 hours until the maximum foot and mouth incubation period – 14 days – has gone by. Currently, the Exotic Disease Response Centre has engaged 23 people. The Field Operations Response Team has engaged 31 people. About 150 staff at MAF in Wellington are involved in varying capacities. The cost of the operation so far is unknown.

No high-risk movements and very few low-risk movements off Waiheke have been identified. There are only two transport operators that move stock from the island, and MAF is confident there are no unknown high-risk movements. There were three low-risk stock movements off the island on 4 May – well before the claimed release on May 9. These three movements have been accounted for. In relation to other low-risk movements, MAF has still been unable to contact the owners of nine of the 41 property owners on Waiheke. These owners are asked to contact MAF on 0800 80 99 66 urgently.

Movement controls remain in place, including signage at checkpoints. There is a DoC recreation reserve island close to Waiheke (Motuihe Island) that some have thought perhaps at risk from virus plumes or visits since it has sheep on it. This island is not considered a risk. DoC has closed the Waiheke Historic Reserve ‘Stony Batter’. This was a unilateral action not requested by MAF.

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