Posted on Wednesday 18th March, 2020

Updated 17 March 2020

We are in unprecedented times with the global impact of the Covid-19 virus (Coronavirus) which is having a significant impact on people’s lives, travel plans and the delivery of sport events. 

The Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) team and board have been monitoring the developments daily and have been in constant communication discussing the impact of this global pandemic on our staff, athletes, support staff and upcoming events. Information is being sourced from many different authorities including the Government, Ministry of Health, IPC, International Federations, HPSNZ, and PNZ Medical Director – Jake Pearson.

The latest HPSNZ updates can be seen at: https://hpsnz.org.nz/about-us/news-media/coronavirus-update-2/

IPC weekly updates can be seen at www.paralympic.org.

PNZ latest decisions

IMPORTANT: In response to the latest developments, including the announcement of the need for all inbound travellers to NZ needing to self-isolate for 14 days, and the announcement of the cancellation of large events, PNZ has made the following decisions:

  • International Travel – PNZ will not be sending any teams, individual athletes or support staff overseas from 17 March and in April and May. All bookings made to date for any planned events will be cancelled and we will be attempting to recover as much of the expenditure as possible. We will be asking our Programme Directors to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in NZ domestically until the end May (or until further notice).
  • Domestic Travel – PNZ will not be supporting any non-essential PNZ related travel domestically from 17 March and in April and May and requests everyone to reschedule any booked travel accordingly. PNZ recommends to all Para athletes, coaches and staff to avoid any domestic flights as of 17 March and in April or May (or until further notice).
  • PNZ Events – All PNZ planned events from 17 March and in April and May will be either cancelled or if they are able to be will be rescheduled (dates TBC). These include: Para Sport Pop Up, PNZ Celebration Project Events in Christchurch/Queenstown/Dunedin. Where events can be held electronically rather than face to face these be will be considered on a case by case basis these include PNZ AGM.

Other Events – Our partner NSO’s will be advising PNZ of any potential changes to domestic competition programmes when they become available and these will be communicated to the respective Programme Managers.

We will continue to monitor this situation and will keep you updated with further information.

Key Contacts

Should you require any information please feel free to discuss with your Manager and/or Programme Director.

For medical queries please contact PNZ Medical Director Jake Pearson at medical@paralympics.org.nz or 022 062 2038.

Should you wish to discuss anything further related to welfare please contact PNZ Psychologist, Rod Corban at rod.corban@gmail.com or 021 941 765.

For any queries please feel free to discuss with myself, PNZ Chief Executive on 027 248 4828 or fallan@paralympics.org.nz.

PNZ Guidelines for all PNZ team members (including all staff, contractors and Para athletes)

Please find below following guidelines for PNZ team members:

All athletes and staff who have returned, or are returning from overseas in the week before Sunday March 15 are required to obtain a medical clearance from their NSO Medical Director, prior to returning to training, utilising any HPSNZ training facility, or interacting with HPSNZ staff.

  • If any PNZ team members travel internationally for personal reasons they must immediately isolate themselves and work from home for 14 days from the date of their return. They may return to work if at the end of 14 days self-isolation they are showing no symptoms; 
  • If team members develop any of the identified symptoms, they are to seek immediate medical attention. They may not return to work until we have a medical certificate clearing them for work;
  • If they have contact with a person with suspected COVID-19, they must immediately isolate themselves and work from home for 14 days. They may return to work if at the end of 14 days self-isolation they are showing no symptoms, or earlier if the suspected case has been confirmed as having tested negative for COVID-19;
  • If they have contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19, they must immediately isolate themselves and work from home for 14 days. They will not be permitted to come back to work until they are declared medically fit and have provided a medical clearance certifying them free of COVID-19.

In any of these situations, our individuals may not attend our offices, or any other sports venue or business locations.

HPSNZ Training Centre Requirements (until further notice)

  • Any athlete (or coach/support staff member), regardless of whether recently travelled or not, should not attend any training facility if feeling unwell with fever and/or respiratory symptoms.
  • Unwell (fever and/or respiratory symptoms) athletes or coach/support staff member should seek advice from their Medical Director or General Practitioner over the phone in advance of presenting to an HPSNZ Performance Health Centre.
  • Unwell athletes (fever and/or respiratory symptoms) who have been overseas within two weeks of becoming unwell, should call the dedicated Coronavirus Healthline number (0800 358 5453) for advice.  Prior to attending any training or health consultations, those athletes should phone their NSO Medical Director or the HPSNZ Director of Performance Health for further plans.
  • All athletes returning from overseas and intending to enter either an HPSNZ training centre or Performance Health Centre should ensure that their return to training and attending the HPSNZ centre has been agreed by the NSO leadership and the NSO Medical Director (this will preferably have be completed in advance, or on return as required).   In the absence of a Medical Director, the HPSNZ Director of Performance Health may be contacted for advice.

How do you avoid catching the Coronavirus?

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathrooms, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol. (HPSNZ utilises ‘Zoono’)
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

Symptoms of Coronavirus most frequently include fever, cough, shortness of breath and sore throat, but vomiting and diarrhoea may also be present (see https://www.healthy.org.nz/ for further symptom details).

What do you do if you think you may have Coronavirus?

If you have symptoms and may have been in contact with someone with Coronavirus, you should phone Healthline’s dedicated Covid-19 number 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 from overseas) or contact your GP by phone.

Once again, these are unprecedented times with information changing daily.  The health, safety and well-being of our people and community is our number one priority and we will therefore do all that is necessary to ensure that this is not affected.