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New Zealand Prepares Itself For Pandemic

The Kapiti and Matiu islands may well become quarantine areas if a flu epidemic were to strike the Wellington Region. // The object behind this will be to contain the spread of the epidemic across the country. Schools and hostels churches and hotels may also be transformed into emergency hospitals where basic medical treatment will be provided to the patients.

The Wellington Region is important as it has an international airport, and foreign visitors may also be infected. Plans are also being made wherein the passengers of ships who are infected can be kept isolated from others. Making the islands quarantine areas also entails difficulties as they can become inaccessible in case of bad weather, leaving the sick without any help. The local hospitals are expected to be overwhelmed by a pandemic. Difficulties are also expected to be encountered in treating patients at their homes.

The Government also has to give its approval to quarantine the infected people. The willingness of medical staff to serve in field hospitals is not under doubt. The question is deciding upon the equipment and training that is to be provided to them. The worst possible scenario will be about 1.6 million people in the country getting infected, with a casualty figure of 33,000.


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