Local News kindly sponsored by: New World DANNEVIRKE

THURSDAY 19 MARCH 2020

Hawke’s Bay’s five Councils are working together to ensure an integrated approach to their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional leaders say they want Hawke’s Bay to ‘Unite against COVID-19’
and be as prepared as possible to ensure the spread of the virus is limited in the community.

They are urging people to be calm and pragmatic as they manage themselves, their family, work and community responsibilities.

Each Council is undertaking their own business continuity planning and following national guidelines, which include maintaining good hygiene practice, limiting close proximity and contact with others, avoiding any large gatherings and asking staff to stay at home if they feel unwell.

Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor Alex Walker says the pandemic will have huge flow-on effects in the region, and something else everyone can do to help is to continue to support local businesses.

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Meanwhile, the Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group is ready to support the Hawke's Bay District Health Board in case COVID-19 reaches the region.

Group Manager Ian Macdonald said the group had activated its emergency coordination centre to support the DHB, which on Monday put its emergency response structure in place to prepare and respond to the pandemic.

He said the group was focusing on planning to provide welfare services to people who didn't need health services but might need help in other ways.

Mr Macdonald said they were coordinating with other agencies to help meet the basic needs of people who were struggling.

He said the group was also making contingency plans in case a different emergency were to arise while the community was dealing with a pandemic.

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A number of other big events have been cancelled in response to the virus.

The upcoming CHB Lions Bookarama has been postponed to later this year; the Dannevirke Volunteer Fire Brigade 125 year celebrations have been cancelled; and the Pongaroar hunting competition in Pongaroa has been affected.

Spokesperson Matt Lorck said the annual event will be cancelled until next year.

The Hawke's Bay International Marathon; the Hawke's Bay Sports Awards; all EIT graduation ceremonies; and the Wine Country Quilts Exhibition at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds have also been cancelled.

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Fire appliances were called to the Ovation NZ plant in Waipukurau last night.

Waipukurau Deputy Fire Chief Glen Millar said they were called to a fire in a hallway in the area of the plant used by NNNZ Casings at about 8.30pm.

He said the fire, which started from an electrical switch, was quickly extinguished by the Waipukurau brigade, whose two pumps were backed up by another two pumps from Waipawa and one from Otane.

Mr Millar said the Takapau Brigade was called to man the Waipukurau Station during the callout.

All staff at the plant were evacuated, and were able to return to work around 10pm.

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A magnitude 3.9 earthquake centred near Pongaroa early this morning has been followed by a number of small earthquakes.

The initial quake was recorded by Geonet at 4.24am, and was centred 15km north of Pongaroa.

It had a depth of 21km, and "light" shaking, according to Geonet.

A further 10 very small quakes were recorded up until 6am.