You will all have heard of COVID-19, a new coronavirus. It was first detected in China in December 2019 and declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation in March 2020.
The World Health Organisation has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. While there’s no need to panic, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty around the virus, the one thing we know for sure is that the best line of defence is to follow standard hygiene practices.
This means me, you, our members – everyone – washing their hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and of course following the Ministry of Health’s guidelines.
Situations like this can be stressful – and it’s hard with the contradictory articles and posts.
Please if you do not feel well, please do not go to work or attend any of our group meetings. Instead ring Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number on 0800 358 5453.
Symptoms and spread of COVID-19
Symptoms are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza. Symptoms include:
· difficulty breathing.
Information to date indicates that COVID-19 is spread by droplets. This means that when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may generate droplets which settle on surrounding surfaces.
How to protect yourself
Follow the Ministry of Health guidelines for hygiene measures:
· Wash (with soap for 20 seconds) and dry your hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing, and before eating.
· Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, use your elbow.
· Put your used tissue in a closed rubbish bin or plastic bag.
· Stay home/away from others if you are sick.
· Call the COVID-19 advice and information line on 0800 358 5453 if you are unwell.
People with compromised health
Your risk of infection is low if:
· you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading
· you have not travelled to an area where COVID-19 is spreading
· you have not been in contact with an infected person.
Follow the usual protective measures such as washing your hands thoroughly and frequently.
For most people, COVID-19 will cause a mild illness but it can make some people very ill. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease or diabetes) are more at risk of severe disease. You may also be concerned if you are pregnant or have a compromised immune system.
Members with pre-existing medical conditions
If COVID-19 spreads in New Zealand and you have pre-existing conditions, seek advice by calling your GP practice. Depending on the extent of the outbreak, they may recommend you stay away from work or public places. You should also strongly consider getting the seasonal flu vaccine.
Advice to members who are unwell
Members who are sick for any reason are asked not to come to the monthly meetings until they have fully recovered. This will also ensure the wellbeing of colleagues.
If you have similar symptoms to COVID-19, call the Ministry of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 line 0800 358 5453 and follow their advice. This may include self-isolation.
There is further information about self-isolation on the Ministry of Health website.
If you are diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, follow all advice from Healthline or your GP. You will need to keep in contact with your employer regularly. Currently there is no official guidance from the Ministry of Health about when it is safe to return to work.
How to work from home
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of being prepared to work remotely. You should start taking your laptop/mobile devices home with you, to make sure you can connect remotely to your employers’ network and can access the tools and resources you need to carry out critical parts of your role. You should also know how to access tools and resources from your home computer if you don’t have a work device.
Here is a quick checklist of what you may need:
· access to email
· access to the files you need
· access to applications you need
· have contact details for your colleagues.
· are used to using at least one video conferencing system like Zoom or Teams and have a microphone and camera (most phones have these if you don’t have the individual items).
Advice for public events and mass gatherings
At this stage the Ministry of Health does not recommend altering arrangements for public events. However, the situation and their response to it is changing all the time. For the latest advice, keep an eye on the Ministry’s COVID-19 website: health.govt.nz/covid-19
Before deciding to proceed with, restrict, modify, postpone or cancel your event, it is recommended you complete a thorough risk assessment. This means you should consider:
· the latest local, national and international advice on COVID-19 (the Ministry of Health, your local public health unit and the World Health Organization will provide reputable, evidence-based information and updates)
· whether people attending your event may have been exposed to, or infected with, COVID-19 and what risk this might pose to others
· the characteristics of your event (for example, the number of people expected; accommodation arrangements; indoor or outdoor, duration, the countries that participants, performers and attendees are travelling from; etc.) and whether they might increase the risk and/or spread of COVID-19
· what measures you could put in place (see above) to help reduce the spread of any disease.
· You should consult local and national authorities as appropriate.
At this stage the Ministry of Health does not recommend altering arrangements for public events. However, the situation and our response to it is changing all the time. For the latest advice, keep an eye on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 website (health.govt.nz/covid-19) and check in with the people or organisation in charge of the event you plan to attend. If you are sick, do not attend public events.
The following people should not attend events:
· anyone who is unwell
· anyone arriving in New Zealand who has returned from mainland China, Iran, Italy or the Republic of Korea (excluding airport transit), or been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days is being asked to self-isolate. Please also register your details with Healthline 0800 358 5453 (or +64 9 358 5453 if using an international SIM) if you have not already.
Update from Lucy Brazier
After a week of looking at every option and consulting with Eth Lloyd, I have formally asked the hotel to postpone LIVE Wellington until May 2021. We are liaising with the hotel, speakers & Eth Lloyd on dates and I will be in touch with these shortly.
The more I read, the more I think it would be irresponsible to go ahead from every point of view. We have no clear view of what will happen between now and August and until this unprecedented situation has passed, it is unwise to be planning public gatherings or international travel.
I am aware that this will be disappointing for many of you and so have spent a lot of time speaking to speakers across the world about how we can ensure you get training and inspiration in the interim.
Later today we will be launching #ExecSecLIVE Global. This will be an online training weekend, much like the one we offered to raise money for Vickie Sokol Evans a few years ago and will feature the world's top trainers and speakers. We will be making this available to all paid delegates for LIVE free of charge as a thank you for bearing with us until May. Other Assistants will be able to pay to join us. Full details will be available in the next week but in the meantime, please put 19th & 20th June in your calendars.
These are unprecedented times and Assistants will be at the heart of leading how the process works within your businesses! There has never been a more important time for us to use each other to educate, share, sense check, discuss and brainstorm.
Please look after yourselves and your loved ones. Please show empathy, respect and kindness to one another.
AAPNZ National President