Whanganui leaders are urging caution around Covid-19 with the Downer New Zealand Masters Games set to kick off across the city.
Whanganui iwi leader Gerrard Albert said iwi are wary of the influx of visitors into the district given the announcement of the Pullman Hotel case a week and a half ago.
"The discovery of the infectious South African strain of the Covid-19 virus in Auckland requires us all to be even more vigilant, up to two weeks following that event," he said.
Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall said the "Covid Safety Zone" theme being applied to the event was a serious matter and required acute attention from the community and visitors.
"I'll be opening the Games this Friday with the 'Covid Safety Zone' theme upfront while encouraging everyone to enjoy the Games and everything our city, river and district has to offer."
More than 3000 visitors are converging on Whanganui for the Games.
But as the Covid-19 virus continues its devastation across the globe and cases arrive daily at New Zealand's borders, Games organisers have resolved to make the safety of competitors and the community the top priority.
Whanganui District Health Board staff alongside Te Oranganui staff have joined with Games organisers to plan protective measures to maintain Whanganui's Covid-free status.
DHB chief executive Russell Simpson said it was imperative to ensure best practice during the 10-day event.
"We are in a very fortunate position to be holding this event, but we need to remain vigilant to the threat of the virus. Whanganui has not had a Covid-19 case since April, but there is no room for complacency, and we must all stick to the basic safety and hygiene precautions."
He said it would be compulsory for all participants, sport partners, hosts and general visitors to use the QR codes at the Games Hub and all sports venues every time they visited a Games location.
"Everyone is urged to keep track of their movements by scanning the QR codes. This vastly improves our chances of quickly stopping the spread of Covid-19 if a new case was to emerge in the community. The more we scan, the safer we will be.
"Most importantly, we are asking any visitors or locals who are feeling unwell to stay away and not take part in Games events or activities."
DHB advice is that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms (cough, fever, runny nose, loss of sense of smell, difficulty breathing) should call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or call their GP.
Covid testing is available at the community-based assessment centre (CBAC) at Whanganui Hospital, 100 Heads Rd. Testing is free and people can just walk up or drive in. The CBAC is open Monday to Friday 8am to 3.30pm (except public holidays). Outside these hours, people can visit Whanganui Accident and Medical (WAM) – phone 06 348 1300.
Some precautions being taken at the NZ Masters Games in Whanganui
• Compulsory sign-in (either via QR code or manual register) at all sports venues and the Games Hub area at the War Memorial Centre.
• Daily push notifications every morning from Wednesday February 5 via NZMG app "Unite against Covid-19" – reminder to sign in at all event sites and hygiene reminders.
• A Covid education team will be present at the Games Hub and around sports venues reminding people to sign in and maintain good hygiene practices.
• Security on the gate at the Games Hub will ensure people sign in.
• Sanitiser stations and reminder signage will be located around the Games Hub and sports venues.