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1/10 NZ$250.00 A3 print Signed Legislative framework 24 January 2020 35. New Zealand’s main statute for managing public health risks is the Health Act 1956. The provisions of the Act that relate to infectious disease notification to Medical Officers of Health, surveillance and management only apply to the diseases that are listed in the Schedules to the Act.3 36. The effect of placing the disease on the Schedule would be that health practitioners attending patients must notify the Medical Officers of Health in the district in question on reasonable suspicion that a person has an infectious disease (under s 74 Health Act). Heads of medical laboratories must also notify the Medical Officer of Health and the attending health practitioner of test results (s 74AA). 37. Under Part 3A of the Act, Medical Officers of Health have powers to investigate and manage individuals and contacts suspected of having or being exposed to infectious diseases listed on Schedule 1. The Medical Officers of Health powers include contact tracing to contain the spread of diseases, issuing mandatory directions, and applying for court orders restricting infected individuals’ and their contacts’ freedom of movement and association. Through using these powers, officers can also ensure that suitable examination, monitoring and isolation measures are in place as required. 38. Section 3 of the Act allows the Governor-General by Order in Council to amend the Schedules to the Act, including in response to emerging disease threats. For example, MERS was added to Schedule 1 in September 2013. 39. As a precautionary measure for the current potentially significant disease threat, I propose to amend Section B of Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Health Act to make infection with novel coronavirus a notifiable infectious disease.

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