19 Mar 2020

Womad seeks to calm festival-goers' anxiety

5:19 pm on 19 March 2020

Womad New Zealand says it has been in contact with health officials and there has been no confirmed case of Covid-19 among fans at last weekend's festival.

The crowd at the Bowl Stage, WOMAD 2020

The crowd at the Bowl Stage, WOMAD 2020 Photo: Isabella Brown

Festival organisers took to Womad New Zealand's Facebook page to quell anxiety someone infected with Covid-19 had been at the event attended by up to 17,000 at Brooklands Park in New Plymouth.

"We've had a few enquiries regarding a potential Covid-19 case at Womad NZ 2020," organisers said. "We've been on the phone with Health officials who have confirmed there has been no cases of people who have attended the festival and that the Womad festival management will be notified immediately if a case were to arise."

The first two Covid-19 cases in Taranaki were announced today - a male and female both in their 40s, who had recently visited Egypt.

The announcement specifically mentioned they had not attended Womad.

In their Facebook post, festival organisers went on to encourage anyone who has symptoms of Covid-19 to follow Ministry of Health advice to self-isolate and call Healthline.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs)

Meanwhile, the New Plymouth District Council wants everyone who has visited the Waitara Library to call the Healthline number after a staff member was identified as a person who could have been in close contact with a person who is suspected of having Covid-19.

External relations manager Jacqueline Baker said the council was taking a safety first approach by closing the library.

"We made the call to shut the Waitara Library as a precautionary measure to allow cleaning and disinfection to take place," Baker said.

"And as a precaution, she [the staff member] has gone into self-isolation this morning and registered with the Ministry of Health."

Baker advised people to stay calm and follow MOH advice.

"It's important to note these cases [which are confirmed] came from overseas. They weren't picked up here in Taranaki."

The Taranaki female is in her 40s, and arrived in New Plymouth on Monday 9 March, from Cairo.

She had travelled from Cairo to Dubai on Emirates flight EK926, from Dubai to Auckland on Emirates flight EK448 and to New Plymouth on Air New Zealand flight NZ8041.

The Taranaki male is in his 40s and arrived in New Plymouth on Sunday 15 March, via Frankfurt on Lufthansa flight LH58, Vancouver on Air New Zealand flight NZ23 and Auckland on Air New Zealand flight NZ8035.

Taranaki DHB's medical officer of health Dr Jonathan Jarman said both people, who are not a couple, are in self-isolation at home and receiving appropriate heath care support.

"We're tracing those who've had contact with them and who may be at risk of exposure. We are putting a range of measures in place for those who may have had close contact, including: self-isolation for 14 days, close monitoring by public health staff, testing if anyone has symptoms, and providing health care, plus other support as needed."

Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus:

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs