Officials from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) are carefully monitoring how the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting New Zealand primary industries and businesses.

MPI, MFAT and NZTE are in close contact with China and other officials as they continue to monitor the trade and economic impacts on New Zealand. MFAT says the full extent of those impacts depends on how prolonged the outbreak is and how widespread it becomes. It warns the longer it persists, the more likely it is the full range of exports will be affected.

At this point in time:

  • There have been no changes to regulatory conditions.
  • China’s ports remain open and goods are being cleared, albeit with delays.
  • Many flights to and from mainland China have been cancelled though they are still going into Hong Kong (and on to the mainland). Cancellations have resulted in a reduction in food outlets operating.
  • International flight cancellations by some airlines may also affect airfreight shipments of certain perishable goods from New Zealand to China.

MPI wants to hear of disruptions as they occur. MPI has been assured by Chinese officials they will be notified if there are to be any regulatory changes. MPI is also collecting information from companies they engage with regularly in China. MPI and NZTE have set up special website pages on the issue. Go to Coronavirus and the Effects on Trade and Information for Exporters .

The Ministry of Health says it is confident in the way China is handling containment. But for businesses in New Zealand it’s time to update or put in place a pandemic plan, says Katherine Rich, CEO of the NZ Food and Grocery Council. “I know bigger companies plan for all sorts of business interruption scenarios, but for smaller businesses it can be one of those things that doesn’t make it to the priority list when there are limited resources.”

FGC members can email [email protected] for more information on pandemic planning.

Quick Facts

  • Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
  • Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
  • Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
  • Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

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