Self-isolation rules vital in combating Covid-19 and saving lives

Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) member Dr Apisalome Talemaitoga says it is important to follow the strict self-isolation rules to combat Covid-19 which will ultimately alleviate the stress and frustration building up in the community.

On Sunday 28 February, New Zealand went into its second lockdown this year – Auckland at Alert Level 3 and the rest of the country at Alert Level 2 – after it was confirmed that the most recent community cases tested positive for Covid-19 after breaching self-isolation rules.

“What really worries me is that people are still not getting the message; isolating at home if you’re a close contact, getting a Covid-19 test and going straight home and staying there until you get your result. Most importantly, if you’re unwell then stay home and don’t go out,” says Dr Talemaitoga.

“This advice is even more important because of the UK variant. It’s very transmissible and it’s much easier to catch and you are more likely to pass it on.

If we don’t follow the rules, then the impact on our country is huge. It affects people’s health, their livelihood, and their mental and physical well-being.”

Dr Talemaitoga is a Fijian GP with medical practices in Christchurch and Auckland and is the Chief Advisor of Pacific health for the Ministry of Health. During the pandemic, he was part of an integral team that provided information and advice to the Government overseeing the surveillance and testing plans.

He describes going back into lockdown as a “circuit breaker”.

“It allows us to pause and break the circuit of this ongoing transmission. That’s why it’s really good that we’ve gone into lockdown so people can take a break and think about all of the golden rules that we have been promoting to stop the spread of Covid, like good hand washing, coughing into our elbows, social distancing, wearing masks, downloading and using the QR codes when we go out and staying home if you are unwell.”

He says people may choose not to follow the rules, thinking that they won’t catch the virus. But this is a dangerous perspective.

“We are all human and people are just thinking it will happen to someone else. That thinking could have huge implications for our country. We need to follow the rules to keep each other safe.”

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Date: Wednesday 03 March 2021