This whakatau&amarc;ki or proverb, from Dr. Whakaari Te Rangitakuku Metekingi (LLD, CBE) of Whanganui and Ng&amarc;ti Hauiti tribes reminds us that, while we must have a vision to aspire toward, we must also tend to the here and now, to the issues that are up front and close to home. It exhorts us to strengthen what has already been achieved and to find ways of creating benefits for others. This paper presents the collaborative response to COVID19 by Iwi (tribes) within Te Ranga Tupua (TRT), a collective of Iwi from the South Taranaki/Whanganui/Rangit&imarc;kei/Ruapehu regions of Aotearoa New Zealand. The research employs a mixed methods design, based on a Kaupapa M&amarc;ori approach. The quantitative section identifies the population served and quantum of support provided, while the qualitative data presents the processes and associated learnings from the perspective of those tasked with the response. TRT's response to the threat of COVID-19 is shown to have been grounded in Maori tikanga (values), wh&amarc;nau (family) based and holistic, taking into account the mental, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual elements of safety and wellbeing rather than just the absence or presence of the virus. The extensive relationships and networks that existed between tribes represented in the TRT collective were key to the timely distribution of care and support to Iwi members, to appropriate and relevant information dissemination, and to the overall well-being of the people during the most difficult times of the COVID-19 response.
The strategy in New Zealand (Aotearoa) to eliminate coronavirus disease requires that international arrivals undergo managed isolation and quarantine and mandatory testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Combining genomic and epidemiologic data, we investigated the origin of an acute case of coronavirus disease identified in the community after the patient had spent 14 days in managed isolation and quarantine and had 2 negative test results. By combining genomic sequence analysis and epidemiologic investigations, we identified a multibranched chain of transmission of this virus, including on international and domestic flights, as well as a probable case of aerosol transmission without direct person-to-person contact. These findings show the power of integrating genomic and epidemiologic data to inform outbreak investigations.
Subject(s)Air Travel , COVID-19 , Humans , New Zealand/epidemiology , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel
Since the first wave of coronavirus disease in March 2020, citizens and permanent residents returning to New Zealand have been required to undergo managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) for 14 days and mandatory testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). As of October 20, 2020, of 62,698 arrivals, testing of persons in MIQ had identified 215 cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Among 86 passengers on a flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, that arrived in New Zealand on September 29, test results were positive for 7 persons in MIQ. These passengers originated from 5 different countries before a layover in Dubai; 5 had negative predeparture SARS-CoV-2 test results. To assess possible points of infection, we analyzed information about their journeys, disease progression, and virus genomic data. All 7 SARS-CoV-2 genomes were genetically identical, except for a single mutation in 1 sample. Despite predeparture testing, multiple instances of in-flight SARS-CoV-2 transmission are likely.