As New Zealand approaches the end of the first week of Covid-19 lockdown, Hamish McDouall believes there is a sound effort of solidarity from the community.

The Whanganui mayor is urging people to keep going because it will save lives.

"From most people, what I hear is we've been pretty fantastic and compliant," he said.

Although there may be a few people trying to push the rules, McDouall has noticed a calm presence around town.

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Victoria Avenue has shown little to no life over the past few days due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Photo / Bevan Conley
Victoria Avenue has shown little to no life over the past few days due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Photo / Bevan Conley

He has made one journey outside his house so far, to drop off some essentials to his mother, and noticed the traffic was almost non-existent.

"Even though the weather wasn't so flash, there were people out there walking and the traffic was down and there were teddy bears in windows and I thought 'yep everyone's signed up to the kaupapa'."

On March 28, Whanganui District Health Board confirmed three cases in the Ruapehu District, but McDouall does not believe this has caused panic within Whanganui.

"It's raised the possibility of the virus getting to Whanganui, but by the time it was announced everyone was in quarantine, and doing what they needed to do and realising that we still have no confirmed cases in the district, that may not last but it's pretty good to be in this space," he said.

"We're six days into it, let's keep it going because our effort now will save lives," he said.

That's the advice Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Russell Simpson is giving as well.

Simpson said urged the community to stay home in their bubble to ensure the frontline workforce is protected.

"Remaining at home, and following the Alert Level 4 guidelines will save more lives than the health system can save on our own."

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Simpson said the DHB asked for understanding communities and to treat staff with kindness over the next few weeks.

Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Russell Simpson is asking the community to be understanding and kind towards DHB staff over the next few weeks. Photo / File
Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Russell Simpson is asking the community to be understanding and kind towards DHB staff over the next few weeks. Photo / File

"Their selfless actions ensure you have access to all the essential services you require during the lockdown, often meaning we cannot be with our own families," he said.

"We know our community are supporting our efforts and we appreciate the messages of support we are receiving.

"I am very proud of our people, and of our community."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Sidebar
A call centre has been launched to coordinate requests for assistance during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The call centre opened yesterday to help people in urgent need and will operate out of the Whanganui District Council building where the health sector-led Emergency Operations Centre is looking to move its base to as the multi-agency response to coronavirus develops.
"People may want to know how they can support others, or they may need food or other supplies delivered. This is a difficult time and we know some extra assistance will be needed in our Whanganui community," Safer Whanganui manager Lauren Tamehana said.
Tamehana advised people to ask whānau and friends whether they need help, call a social agency or call the welfare team.
"We'll have members of our team on the phones who will ask you a few questions to understand your needs. If we can't help you immediately, we'll get back to you."
People needing assistance during the Covid-19 lockdown can phone the call centre on 349 0001.
It will be staffed from 8am until 5pm with all calls going to an after hours number beyond that.