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26 deaths total Irish doctor in New Zealand describes approach to Covid fight Down Under as 'different world'

'One person with Covid-19 in the country creates a huge reaction'

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An empty street is seen as a lockdown to curb the spread of cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) remains in place in Wellington, New Zealand, August 20, 2021. REUTERS/Praveen Menon/File Photo

An empty street is seen as a lockdown to curb the spread of cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) remains in place in Wellington, New Zealand, August 20, 2021. REUTERS/Praveen Menon/File Photo

An empty street is seen as a lockdown to curb the spread of cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) remains in place in Wellington, New Zealand, August 20, 2021. REUTERS/Praveen Menon/File Photo

An Irish GP in New Zealand has described the stark difference in the Covid fight Down Under as “a completely different world” to Ireland.

Dr Sinead Donnelly, has said she has admiration for the doctors in Ireland.

New Zealand has recorded its largest increase in Covid-19 cases since April 2020 and the country’s lockdown has been extended. 41 new cases were reported bringing the current outbreak total to 148.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, she said: “It’s a completely different world to what I realise has been happening in Ireland.

"We haven’t really been tested but Ireland from what I can gather from my own brothers and sisters who are doctors there’s a resilience in Ireland that has been bulked up through this dreadful experience whereas we’re just waiting here kind of nervous and not knowing how we would cope,” she said.

Dr Donnelly works in Wellington hospital and said there are currently no patients with Covid-19 in the hospital.

The total number of deaths in New Zealand since the pandemic started is 26.

Dr Donnelly said the approach in the country is an elimination strategy, she said: “One person with Covid-19 in the country creates a huge reaction because they’re aiming to have zero and as a result I think, this is personally, the biggest positive thing about New Zealand is its isolation and border control. It’s almost possible to get in.”

The country has been in a level 4 lockdown for just over a week. This means everyone has to stay at home except for essential workers.

Schools are closed and face coverings are mandatory.

Dr Donnelly said the vaccine levels in Ireland are “far ahead” of New Zealand.

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“The levels in Ireland are far ahead of New Zealand they only have the Pfizer vaccine here that’s all that they’re using. Up to about two weeks ago 19pc were vaccinated that has picked up since the last 10 days with this new outbreak. One million people of a population of 4.5 to 5 million have the two vaccines,” she added.

“There has been a reaction among ordinary people saying why has this been such a slow rollout.

Dr Donnelly explained the process of Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) in the country and the efforts you would have to take to get in or out.

“You could certainly get home if you make your way through Singapore or various countries with your Covid-19 testing in advance 72 hours before getting on the plane it has to be negative.

“The problem is you have to book an MIQ place here every single person no matter from what country if you come back into the country you have to go into 14 days of managed isolation in identified places managed by the government and that costs about $3,100 which is about €1,800 and the problem is there are limited places there are about 4,500 of those places at a time and they’re booked out until next year.

Dr Donnelly said if people in the community contract Covid-19 they then go into these places so that then limits the number of people who can come into the country.
 

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