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Community Reassured Systems In Place To Cope

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher-Swann is reassuring the community that the organisation is well prepared to support them through COVID-19, as New Zealand steps up to emergency alert level 2.

Yesterday (Friday) Ms Thatcher-Swann stood up the Emergency Coordination Centre to support Hauora Tairāwhiti as the situation escalates. There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Tairāwhiti region.

“We have solid plans in place to ensure our community is supported but we need people to continue to follow the Ministry of Health,” she said.

She encourages people to -

· Stay home when sick

· Keep a distance of at least a metre from others

· Wash your hands, don’t touch your face

· Look after each other and be kind.

“There is so much uncertainty at this time, and it is up to us to pull together to make sure we come through it the best way we can. I want to reassure you that we are taking every step we can to slow the spread of this virus.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released a new four-level COVID-19 alert system which moves from prepare to reduce, restrict and finally eliminate. The nation now sits at reduce.

Ms Ardern has asked those over 70, or with compromised immunity or underlying respiratory conditions to stay at home, and for everyone to restrict non-essential domestic travel.

She has also asked Kiwis to step up and do what New Zealand does so well.

“We are creative, practical and community-minded. We know how to rally and look after one another. What could be more important?” Ms Ardern urged people to be strong, be kind and unite against COVID-19.

Tairāwhiti’s ECC is run by Council’s Civil Defence and is in place to help Hauora Tairāwhiti. Civil Defence manager Wiremu Tamati says his team has been closely watching the situation and have both the training and resources to step up to support the community. “We will work with the Hauora Tairāwhiti to funnel welfare assistance to those who need help. Once we have a better idea of what our community needs, that approach will be broadened.”

Council group controller Dave Wilson is encouraging people to keep calm but prepare for the long haul. “I will be overseeing the operations of the ECC to ensure we are well coordinated and have the resources in place to deal with this fast-moving situation.”

For more information, head to www.covid19.govt.nz

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