web analytics

COVID-19: A human adapted virus

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, July 24th, 2020 - 23 comments
Categories: China, covid-19, Environment, International, science - Tags: ,

One of the things that has been obvious about COVID-19 from the start has been that it is very well adapted to humans. It has evolved a good entry system to the human airways, is often has mild symptoms, has a long pre-symptomatic infectious period, and doesn’t kill many of its hosts.

These are very good characteristics for a virus evolved to get hosts to make more copies of it’s genetic code. It gets to spread before people are aware that they have it. It didn’t cause too much alarm during its initial spread because most of its hosts got something that was like a mild flu.

By contrast, its close cousin the SARS virus wasn’t well adapted to humans. At the time it becomes infectious in a human host, the human host is aware of it. They’re running a temperature, have chills, muscle aches, headache sneezing, coughing and feeling quite sick. Those are the very things that induce people to go to doctors and hospitals. Which in turn cause our social systems to report and start to contain the disease.

Consequently SARS got identified early before it spread widely through urban populations. With its early fever aspect it was easy to test for. Elevated temperatures provided a efficient way for human societies to isolate hosts and to prevent the replication and spread of the SARS genetic code. Consequently it is effectively extinct in urban human populations

But that same subtlety of its operation has always implied that COVID-19 has been circulating in a human population for some time to evolve those characteristics. The question has where that population is?

There is a nice (but pay walled) article in the Economist that looks at this.

One of the great questions of the past six months is where sarscov-2, the virus that causes covid-19, came from. It is thought the answer involves bats, because they harbour a variety of sars-like viruses. Yunnan, one of China’s southernmost provinces, has drawn the attention of virus hunters, as the closest-known relatives of sarscov-2 are found there. But some think the origins of the virus are not to be found in China at all, but rather just across the border in Myanmar, Laos or Vietnam.

This is the hunch of Peter Daszak, head of EcoHealth Alliance, an organisation which researches animals that harbour diseases that move into people. Since the outbreak, in 2003, of the original sars (now known as sarscov), scientists have paid close attention to coronaviruses. Dr Daszak says that around 16,000 bats have been sampled and around 100 new sars-like viruses discovered. In particular, some bats found in China are now known to harbour coronaviruses that seem pre-adapted to infect people. The chiropteran hosts of these viruses have versions of a protein called ace2 that closely resemble the equivalent in people. This molecule is used by sars-like viruses as a point of entry into a cell.

That such virological diversity has so far been found only in China is because few people have looked at bats in countries on the other side of the border. Yet these places are likely to be an evolutionary hotspot for coronaviruses—one that mirrors bat diversity (see map). The horseshoe bats in Yunnan which harbour close relatives of sarscov-2 are found across the region. Other countries are thus likely to have bats with similar viral building blocks. Dr Daszak believes it is “quite likely that bats in Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam carry similar sars-related coronaviruses, maybe a huge diversity of them, and that some of them could be close to sarscov-2”.

Economist: “SARS-CoV-2 will look beyond China

One of the strong supporting arguments to support this has been the very low rates of infection in Vietnam (412 confirmed cases) and Cambodia (198 confirmed cases). Relative to the population levels of 95+ million and 16+ million respectively, these have been extraordinarily low.

Both states are authoritarian and, especially in the case of Vietnam, have been intensely proactive with dealing with COVID-19. While there don’t appear to have been any excessive mortality level studies on these states, there also haven’t been evidence of hiding of cases either.

Vietnam is an authoritarian, one-party state which is notoriously secretive about sharing information.

But most experts believe Vietnamese authorities are being honest about coronavirus statistics.

Huong Le Thu, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told the ABC that given international organisations, foreign epidemiologists and even Australia’s ambassador to Hanoi have expressed confidence in the data, she had “no reason” to doubt the figures.

The Reuters news agency reported none of the 13 funeral homes it contacted in Hanoi have seen an increase in funerals amid the pandemic.

“I know I sound like I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, but I don’t see any alarm bells ringing about the accuracy or lack of transparency in the numbers,” said Sharon Kane, Vietnam country director at Plan International, an NGO that works on public health.

Radio New Zealand: “How has Vietnam, a developing nation, had no Covid deaths?

When you look at the list of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam or Cambodia, what does become obvious that they have excessive representation in people who grew up in other areas of the world.

John Bell, a professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, says everyone thought there would be a flood of cases in Vietnam because the country is right across the border from China. Yet Vietnam has reported only 300 in a population of 100m, and no deaths. The country did not have a great lockdown either, he adds. Nobody could work out what was going on.

One explanation, he suggests, is that Vietnam’s population is not as immunologically “naive” as has been assumed. The circulation of other sars-like viruses could have conferred a generalised immunity to such pathogens. So, if a new one emerged in the region, it was able to take hold in the human population only when it travelled all the way to central China—where people did not have this natural resistance.

This would tie in with the idea that infection with one coronavirus can provide protection against others, and that even in countries away from the evolutionary cauldron of South-East Asia part of the population may have some protection against the current pandemic. In particular, there are suggestions that protection might be conferred mainly via part of the immune system called t-cells (which work by killing virus-infected cells) rather than via antibodies (which work by gumming up pathogens). If that is the case, then serological studies which look at antibodies may be underestimating natural immunity.

All of which means that searching the reservoirs of bats of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos for a exact or very closer match for COVID-19 would be a good idea. Since the identification of the human corona virus in the common cold viruses back in the 1960s, we have had a number of identified epidemic outbreaks. SARS. MERS, and now COVID-19.

Each has caused a flurry of activity in various regions of the world and now at a global level. Two of these (SARS and MERS) were pretty obviously recent and ill-adapted hops from a host (probably a bat) directly or indirectly to humans. But COVID-19 appears to be exceptionally well adapted to humans and spreading in human societies. It is causing immense amounts of damage when it managed to spread out of whatever enclave where it was already endemic.

It’d appear to me that proactively knowing what is out there in the wild is the best way to prevent the next corona virus from the same enclave. It’d be rare for single virus variant to be endemic. Where there is one, there are likely to be more sharing similar characteristics.

Finding out the intermediate vector species or practices that allow the spread to a human population would also be very useful in preventing future epidemics. Because we’re going to see them as our population and practices keep expanding into wild areas, and as we keep shutting human hosts around the world to assist in their spread.

As for the mystery of the origin of covid-19, more answers will come when the who mission takes place, perhaps in August. The critical steps that led a South-East Asian bat virus to start a pandemic could have happened inside or outside of China—whether in wild-animal markets or farms, or in traders or hunters. The virus may have jumped directly from bats into people, or come via an intermediate species. The story is waiting to be told. 

Economist: “SARS-CoV-2 will look beyond China

As a side note, the wacky conspiracy theories that any human was capable of designing these characteristics into a virus are pretty ludicrous. As a technical species, we simply don’t have the genetic subtlety to design something like COVID-19. Much the same applies to the idea that a release of the naturally occurring sample of the virus from a lab being of significance is just stupid and ignorant. At some stage the virus would would have escaped from whatever human enclave it was in – and infected the rest of the world.

23 comments on “COVID-19: A human adapted virus ”

  1. ianmac 1

    Presumably Trump will declare from his position as an eminent scientist that the above is impossible. His gut continues to tell him that this was a Chinese designed virus.

    On a serious note it seems possible that not only is the above column possible, but it does raise the probability that there will emerge more lethal viruses. I Health System needs serious upgrading.

    • lprent 1.1

      … it does raise the probability that there will emerge more lethal viruses.

      I'd bet on it within the current decade, and I don't gamble on anything less than a sure bet.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      A more lethal virus is inevitable. Evolution happens all the time and, as viruses have a really short life cycle, viruses evolve damn fast.

      The problem is that many people seem to think that everything is as it has always been and that it will always be this way and thus think that we don't need any more than what we have as far as necessary protections (like a good health system) go.

      • JohnSelway 1.2.1

        Not to mention how quickly bacteria are evolving to resist antibiotics which, in my opinion, is a far scarier proposition. A resistant strain of the Bubonic Plague would be an absolute nightmare

        • Draco T Bastard

          And the answer to that is to stop using antibiotics as much as we do. Which never seems to go down well:

          Sick person: But, I need antibiotics for this common cold.

          Doctor: No, you don't – you need bed rest

          Sick person: But, I need to go to work…

          See the problem?

          • JohnSelway

            I agree – some doctors throw antibiotics in when they aren't even needed. My father was a practicing GP and he always prescribed antibiotics sparingly

  2. Andre 2

    I've spent a while wondering if maybe the virus made the jump to humans and became endemic in some isolated population of humans quite a while ago, allowing it to evolve its improved adaptation to humans, then some intrepid traveler finally ended up catching it and bringing it out of its isolation.

    In which case Wuhan just had the bad luck to be where the first superspreading event occurred in the chains of transmission.

    • ianmac 2.1

      Wasn't there an obscure report that a Covid infection was discovered in France last year?

      • Andre 2.1.1

        Yeah. But IIRC that was late enough in the year that it could still be consistent with the Wuhan outbreak as the point of transfer to humans. Or not.

    • AB 2.2

      "endemic in some isolated population of humans quite a while ago, allowing it to evolve its improved adaptation to humans"

      Wouldn't it require a fairly large population of humans for the virus to work through over time in order to acquire those adaptations? A couple of hundred people up a remote valley somewhere presumably wouldn't be enough – and therefore – do sufficiently large isolated populations actually exist for this scenario?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        A couple of hundred people up a remote valley somewhere presumably wouldn't be enough

        It would be enough if the virus had several human generations to evolve over. They're pretty much immune, remember.

  3. Drowsy M. Kram 3

    Thanks for an excellent summary of that Economist article which makes a (much) more convincing case for the likely origin of sars–cov-2 (–> Covid-19) than Sørensen and Dalgleish, or the much touted Chris Martenson who has shifted to 'safer' ground.

    A few will continue to insist that evil fiends in the CCP must (somehow) be to blame, because they're evil fiends. There is, however, plenty of evidence that the CCP's 'methods' would be inimicable to NZ's way of life without resorting to speculative fearmongering.


    • mauī 3.1

      Side with the so called 'experts' why don't you, although they're far from convincing, doing their best to say it's inconceivable.

      Martenson puts forward a reasonable theory that it could be an artificial virus, yet scientific people such as yourself dismiss him out of hand. Perhaps it's because he was miles ahead of the WHO in calling this disease a pandemic, and that mask use was essential to stop the spread, among other things. We can't have an outsider being proven right can we.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 3.1.1

        I've no problem with so-called outsiders being proven right – scientific discovery is sprinkled with examples of outsider opinion overturning expert consensus, but it's not a common occurrence. What really interests me is why some on-lookers favour outsider opinion over expert consensus – might there be other, non-science 'factors' at play?

        For example, wouldn't it have been great if climate change deniers (all outsiders now) had been proven right. But now we know, and that truth will set us free, eventually.

        • Andre

          … scientific discovery is sprinkled with examples of outsider opinion overturning expert consensus, but it's not a common occurrence.

          "Not a common occurence" gives the impression it happens far more frequently than actually happens. A better description is "extremely rare occurrence".

          When it does happen, it's almost always the result of an enormous amount of work to first show the flaws in the existing consensus, then convincingly demonstrating the alternative that overthrows the previous consensus.

          Random off the cuff reckons from someone not actively working in that particular field are a very unlikely source of overthrowing the expert consensus. So yeah, it is indeed a very interesting question as to why some people immediately choose to believe the random off-the-cuff reckons over the considered expert consensus.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            Fair enough Andre – hoped that use of the word "sprinkled", as opposed to 'littered', would give a clue as to how (extremely) uncommon / rare these 'game-changing' (urgh) 'paradigm shifts' (double urgh) are, although quantitation is problematic.

            Specific examples that sprang to mind were the efforts of Nobel prize winners in Physiology or Medicine 1997 (Prusiner) and 2005 (Marshall and Warren).

        • mauī

          "What really interests me is why some on-lookers favour outsider opinion over expert consensus.."

          I'm thinking there's probably a correlation between the prevalence of conspiracy theories and bullshit expert explanation where the facts aren't supportive or have large gaps.

  4. Adrian 4

    Last week I heard a report ( sorry don't remember when but probably NatRad as out in a paddock working ) that sewage samples from around the world have reportedly identified Covid -19 as having been around for at least 2 years. The assumption was that it needed the right enviroment to go rogue involving temperature, humidity and a suitable human host and Wuhan market may have just fitted the bill.

  5. Editractor 5

    Given this discussion, this pre-proof essay from a science journal may be of interest to some:

    "On the evolutionary epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2"

    • Wairua 5.1

      I clicked the link and got an automatic download rather than an open document. .I prefer to have some control over downloads. Cheers ..

      • Brigid 5.1.1

        Because it's a pdf. Perhaps have a look at your browser settings see if you can disable this function.

      • Incognito 5.1.2

        Always hover your cursor over a link before you click. Once you click it is up to your system and its settings as to what happens next.

      • Editractor 5.1.3

        The file is a pdf. If you want it to open automatically in your browser you will need a browser pdf reader.

        I would have left the raw link but as I have a pdf reader extension the file contents were automatically being displayed inside the post, which made it too small to read.

        The file comes from cell.com, Cell being a major publisher of scientific journals, but you are right to be cautious anyway.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government offers formal apology for Dawn Raids
    A formal and unreserved apology for the Dawn Raids The Government will offer education scholarships as part of the apology Manaaki New Zealand Short Term Scholarship Training courses Support Pacific artists and historians to develop a comprehensive written and oral account of the Dawn Raids Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Speech to Dawn Raids Apology
    Tēnā koutou katoa, Kia orana kotou katoatoa, Fakaalofa lahi atu ki mutolu oti, Tālofa nī, Mālō nī koutou, Ni sa bula vinaka, Fakatalofa atu, Noa'ia 'e mauri, Kam na mauri, Malo e lelei, Sioto'ofa, Mālō lava le lagi e mamā ma le soifua maua, Oue tulou, tulou atu, tulouna lava ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Bridging the gap – last piece of Northcote Safe Cycle Route now complete
    The opening of two bridges over Auckland’s Northern Motorway is the last link of a cycling and walking route which provides a safe, active alternative for students and commuters, Transport Minister Michael Wood said today. Michael Wood cut the ribbon for the completion of the Northcote Safe Cycle Route, at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Progress in establishment of Aged Care Commissioner
    Recruitment for an Aged Care Commissioner will start next month, to ensure greater oversight of New Zealand’s aged care sector. “This sector is responsible for supporting a large and often vulnerable population. While most people are able to access quality care, there have been cases where that care has fallen ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New record number of homes consented
    In the year ended June 2021, the actual number of new dwellings consented was 44,299, up 18 percent from the June 2020 year. In June 2021, the seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings consented rose 3.8 percent. In June 2021, 4,310 new dwellings were consented, an increase of 3.8 per ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Communities backed to tackle wilding pines
    Twelve community projects across New Zealand will receive a share of $2 million to carry out wilding pine control, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor announced as part of Biosecurity Week. “Wilding pines are a serious problem that threaten many of the unique landscapes that New Zealanders value. Community groups and trusts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Health Minister Andrew Little responding to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation's rejection of ...
    I was advised last night that the result of the ballot of Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa New Zealand Nurses Organisation members have rejected the latest proposal to settle their collective agreement. Let me be clear: the proposal was one they put to the Government. The Nurses Organisation rejected their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation introduced to Parliament
    Legislation has been introduced to Parliament to protect against practices intended to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Introducing the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill, Minister of Justice, Kris Faafoi, said the measures proposed were aimed at ending conversion practices which don’t work, are widely ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New school site for booming West Auckland
    The Government will build on a new school site in West Auckland to cope with rapid population growth in the area, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Ministry is working with existing local schools to determine how the 1.5-hectare site at 279 Hobsonville Point Road will be used to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Trans-Tasman travel window to close at midnight tomorrow
    A further 500 MIQ rooms released for managed returnees from NSW Further Government actions announced today are balanced to provide more certainty for Kiwis wanting to return from Australia, while continuing to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, acting Minister for COVID-19 Response Ayesha Verrall says. The actions were foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt investing millions in Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti schools
    Napier Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools are among those set to benefit from a $16.5 million investment in the Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti region, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash announced today. The Government has set aside money in Budget 2021 to accelerate five projects in Napier, Hastings, Havelock North ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Game changing Jobs for Nature investment for Northland
    Conservation Minister Kiri Allan has announced Jobs for Nature funding for a portfolio of projects that will create ‘game changing’ gains for nature and communities across Northland/Te Tai Tokerau as part of the Government’s acceleration of the economic recovery from COVID. “This portfolio of 12 projects will see over $20 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Third COVID-19 vaccine receives provisional approval
    New Zealand’s regulatory authority Medsafe has granted provisional approval of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older, Acting Minister for COVID-19 Response Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. New Zealand secured 7.6 million doses (enough for 3.8 million people) of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bowel-cancer screening programme is saving lives
    More than 1000 New Zealanders have had bowel cancer – New Zealand’s second-most-common cause of death from cancer - detected under the Government’s National Bowel Screening Programme, Health Minister Andrew Little said today. More than 1200 New Zealanders died from bowel cancer in 2017. The screening programme aims to save ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt welcomes draft report on the retail grocery sector
    The Commerce Commission’s draft report into the retail grocery sector is being welcomed by Government as a major milestone. “I asked the Commerce Commission to look at whether this sector is as competitive as it could be and today it has released its draft report for consultation,” Commerce and Consumer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Christchurch’s Youth Hub ‘set to go’ thanks to further Government funding
    Construction of New Zealand’s first, purpose-built centre for youth well-being is ready to get underway thanks to an extra $2.5 million of COVID-19 response funding, Housing Minister and Associate Minister of Finance, Megan Woods announced today.  “The Christchurch Youth Hub is about bringing together all the things young people need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Next step to protect Milford Sound Piopiotahi
    Expert group lays out plan to better protect iconic UNESCO World Heritage site Milford Sound Piopiotahi and its surrounds Funding confirmed for dedicated unit and Establishment Board to assess the recommendations and provide oversight of the process from here Milford Opportunities Project a test case for transformational change in tourism ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding for projects to reduce waste from construction and demolition
    The Government has announced funding for projects in Auckland and the lower North Island to help reduce construction and demolition waste. “Construction is the main source of waste sent to landfill, and much of this could be reduced, reused and recovered,” Environment Minister David Parker said. “The Government is funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech at the launch of the National Hepatitis C Action Plan
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you Anglesea Pharmacy and Te Manawa Taki for hosting this event. As a doctor, I saw first hand the impact of hepatitis C. I met Moana in 2019; she came to the infectious diseases outpatient clinic at Wellington Hospital having tested positive for hepatitis C. Like ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Plan to eliminate hepatitis C as a major health threat by 2030
    A plan to eliminate hepatitis C in New Zealand, reducing liver cancer and the need for liver transplants, has been released today by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall. “Around 45,000 New Zealanders have hepatitis C, but only around half know they have it,” said Ayesha Verrall. “Symptoms often ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • School upgrades and new classrooms for West Coast, Tasman and Canterbury
    A funding injection from Budget 2021 to complete four shovel ready projects and new classrooms at six schools and kura will provide a real boost to local communities, Minister Dr Megan Woods announced today. “This Government has committed to providing quality fit for purpose learning environments and 100,000 new student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Warmer Kiwi Homes smashes annual target
    The Government's highly successful insulation and heating programme, Warmer Kiwi Homes, is celebrating a key milestone with the completion of more than 38,000 insulation and efficient heater installs in the year to the end of June, smashing its target of 25,000 installs for the year. “The Warmer Kiwi Homes scheme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Exemption granted for Wallabies to enter NZ
    Bledisloe Cup rugby will be played in New Zealand after the Australian rugby team received an economic exemption to enter New Zealand. Travel between Australia and New Zealand was suspended on Friday for at least eight weeks following the worsening of the COVID outbreak across the Tasman. New Zealanders have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced three New Zealand Head of Mission appointments. They are: Mike Walsh as Ambassador to Iran Michael Upton as Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union Kevin Burnett as Ambassador to Indonesia Iran “Aotearoa New Zealand has a long-standing and constructive relationship with Iran, despite a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved for West Coast and Marlborough
    The Government has activated Enhanced Task Force Green (ETFG) in response to the West Coast and Marlborough floods, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “To assist with the clean-up, up to $500,000 will be made available to support the recovery in Buller and Marlborough which has experienced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt support for upgrade of Eden Park players facilities
    Minister for Sport and Recreation Hon Grant Robertson has announced funding to upgrade the players facilities at Eden Park ahead of upcoming Women’s World Cup events. Eden Park is a confirmed venue for the Rugby World Cup 2021, the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, and a proposed venue for matches of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More jobs and quicker public transport motoring towards West Auckland
    Work to improve public transport for West Aucklanders and support the region’s economic recovery by creating hundreds of jobs has officially kicked off, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff this morning marked the start of construction on the Northwestern Bus Improvements project. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government backs critical health research
    Research into some of New Zealanders’ biggest health concerns including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease is getting crucial support in the latest round of health research funding, Health Minister Andrew Little announced today. The funding, awarded through the Health Research Council of New Zealand, covers 31 General Project grants ($36.64 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Bay of Islands hospital facilities to bring services closer to home
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little have joined a ceremony to bless the site and workers for Phase Two of the redevelopment of the Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa today. The new building will house outpatients and primary care facilities, as well as expanded renal care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Raukokore re-imagined with ‘smart’ relocatable rent to own housing
    Iwi, Crown Partnership Relocatable, fully insulated housing, connected to a new solar plant Provides a pathway to home ownership New housing in the remote eastern Bay of Plenty community of Raukokore shows how iwi and Crown agencies can work together effectively to provide warm, dry, energy efficient homes in a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cabinet accepts Turkish authorities’ request for the managed return of three NZ citizens
    Cabinet has agreed to the managed return of a New Zealand citizen and her two young children from Turkey, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The three have been in immigration detention in Turkey since crossing the border from Syria earlier this year. Turkey has requested that New Zealand repatriate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt delivers more classrooms so children can focus on learning
    Extra Government investment in classrooms and school building projects will enable students and teachers to focus on education rather than overcrowding as school rolls grow across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis say. The pair visited Ruakākā School in Whangārei today to announce $100 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New station a platform for AirportLink to take off
    Every Aucklander with access to the rail network will now have a quick and convenient trip to the airport, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said during the official opening of the new Puhinui Interchange today. The new interchange links the rail platform with a new bus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 10 days sick leave for employees delivered
    Legislation doubling employees’ minimum sick leave entitlement to 10 days comes into effect today, bringing benefits to both businesses and employees, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. “Our Government is delivering on a key manifesto commitment to help Kiwis and workplaces stay healthy,” Michael Wood said. “COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on Election Win
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tonight congratulated Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on her victory in the Samoa’s general election. “New Zealand has a special relationship with Samoa, anchored in the Treaty of Friendship. We look forward to working with Samoa’s new government in the spirit of partnership that characterises this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel with Australia suspended
    Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. From 11.59pm today Australians will no longer be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free. This will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Growing conservation efforts in Gisborne
    A big injection of Jobs for Nature funding will create much-needed jobs and financial security for families in TeTairāwhiti, and has exciting prospects for conservation in the region, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The projects target local communities most affected by the economic consequences of COVID 19 and are designed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Flood recovery given further assistance
    The Government is contributing a further $1 million to help the flood battered Buller community, Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faafoi announced today. “Buller is a small community which has found itself suddenly facing significant and ongoing welfare costs. While many emergency welfare costs are reimbursed by Government, this money ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Funding for five projects to reduce food waste
    The Government is funding five projects to help address the growing problem of food waste, Environment Minister David Parker announced today. “New Zealand households throw away nearly 300,000 tonnes of food every year, half of which could still be eaten. By supporting these initiatives, we’re taking steps to reduce this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for West Coast flooding event
    The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated today - meaning residents on the West Coast of the South Island and in the Marlborough region hit by flooding over the weekend can now access help finding temporary accommodation, announced Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Poto Williams in Westport today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago