Dear Member / clinic owner,

Revised case definition

The MoH has revised its case definition today.
A suspect case is now:
Any acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following symptoms: cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, coryza[1], anosmia[2] with or without fever. See MoH website for full information.

[1] Coryza – head cold e.g. runny nose, sneezing, post-nasal drip
[2] Anosmia – loss of sense of smell


A survey across different DHB regions reveals frontline UC staff are tending to wear masks (usually surgical masks) for all close patient contact.
Some are experiencing shortages or report uncertain DHB supply.
Note expert advice commissioned for the Executive Office of the President (USA) and released on April 1st:
"While the current SARS-CoV-2 specific research is limited, the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing."

Communications with the Ministry of Health

Communications have greatly improved in the last 24 hours. The MoH has now included RNZCUC on all MoH primary care communications lists. We also have a point of contact for passing feedback, concerns and suggestions to the Ministry.


The NZ Telehealth Leaders Group advises "there have been a large number of changes to enable telehealth over the last 10 days. This includes a waiver for the need for a physical signature and the removal of the advice from the MCNZ in regards to not prescribing antipsychotics by telehealth. There is also a new MCNZ statement and MPS have produced a revised telehealth statement."
See and for updates, and the MCNZ statement on telehealth.

Cross-government daily updates

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Cold and flu centres

Bay of Plenty has announced a fully functioning centre for treating viral respiratory illness, and other DHBs are considering this. There's broad support of the idea from members who have responded.

One facility has volunteered to be the cold and flu assessment centre for its area; if any others are interested, please reply.

Generally cold and flu patients continue to attend (and potentially contaminate) all medical facilities and EDs. Most facilities are taking rigorous steps to treat patients via teleconsultation, as well as implementing at-door triage and consultation outside the clinic for RTI patients, eg in portacabins or other customised local solutions.

With best wishes,
David Gollogly, Jasmine Mackay, Richard Chen
Pandemic Response Committee