Govt may have power to forcibly quarantine infected should coronavirus outbreak hit NZ

Source: 1News

In case of a pandemic, New Zealand officials could be given special powers to control its spread, including forcibly quarantining people.

It comes as authorities race to modify a 2017 influenza pandemic plan for the coronavirus.

In that plan, these are some of the Government's special powers if we have a widespread outbreak.

- Mobilising an emergency release of antiviral medication and face masks.

- Quarantining infected people - by force if necessary.

- Restrictions on international and domestic travel.

- Banning some public gatherings and closing schools.

- Isolating whole islands like the Chathams or Great Barrier to prevent the spread.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the pandemic plan is being re-worked now.

“This is a pandemic plan that we've had in place for a number of years that we are making sure is meeting the needs of the current virus that we are seeing in transmission globally at the moment.”

It comes as the coronavirus crisis has now spread to 38 countries.

The death rate for coronavirus victims over 80 is almost 15% - that falls to 8% if you're in your seventies, and a steep drop for anyone younger.

There are currently 82,164 confirmed cases worldwide, including 2772 fatalities.