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 1.2.1.1

          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 1.2.1.1.1

            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.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misinformation_related_to_the_COVID-19_pandemic#Bio-engineered_virus

    • 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 3.1.1.1

          … 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 3.1.1.1.1

            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 3.1.1.2

          "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

  • NZ to provide additional deployment to support Ukraine
    As part of New Zealand’s ongoing response to the war in Ukraine, New Zealand is providing further support and personnel to assist Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “We have been clear throughout Russia’s assault on Ukraine, that such a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    26 mins ago
  • Prime Minister to visit United States
    Prime Minister to lead trade mission to the United States this week to support export growth and the return of tourists post COVID-19. Business delegation to promote trade and tourism opportunities in New Zealand’s third largest export and visitor market Deliver Harvard University commencement address  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates Anthony Albanese
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated Anthony Albanese and the Australian Labor Party on winning the Australian Federal election, and has acknowledged outgoing Prime Minister Scott Morrison. "I spoke to Anthony Albanese early this morning as he was preparing to address his supporters. It was a warm conversation and I’m ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Poroporoaki: Dame Aroha Reriti-Crofts DNZM CBE JP
    Tiwhatiwha te pō, tiwhatiwha te ao. Tiwhatiwha te pō, tiwhatiwha te ao. Matariki Tapuapua, He roimata ua, he roimata tangata. He roimata e wairurutu nei, e wairurutu nei. Te Māreikura mārohirohi o Ihoa o ngā Mano, takoto Te ringa mākohakoha o Rongo, takoto. Te mātauranga o Tūāhuriri o Ngai Tahu ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Boost for tourism networks as borders open
    Three core networks within the tourism sector are receiving new investment to gear up for the return of international tourists and business travellers, as the country fully reconnects to the world. “Our wider tourism sector is on the way to recovery. As visitor numbers scale up, our established tourism networks ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Law changes passed stopping tax evasion on water-pipe tobacco
    The Minister of Customs has welcomed legislation being passed which will prevent millions of dollars in potential tax evasion on water-pipe tobacco products. The Customs and Excise (Tobacco Products) Amendment Act 2022 changes the way excise and excise-equivalent duty is calculated on these tobacco products. Water-pipe tobacco is also known ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government support for Levin community hit by tornado
    The Government is contributing $100,000 to a Mayoral Relief Fund to help the Levin community following this morning’s tornado, Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan says. “My thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by severe weather events in Levin and across the country. “I know the tornado has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from the Quintet of Attorneys General in support of Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova a...
    The Quintet of Attorneys General have issued the following statement of support for the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and investigations and prosecutions for crimes committed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine: “The Attorneys General of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand join in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Andrew Little Budget 2022 post-Budget health speech, Auckland, 20 May 2022
    Morena tatou katoa. Kua tae mai i runga i te kaupapa o te rā. Thank you all for being here today. Yesterday my colleague, the Minister of Finance Grant Robertson, delivered the Wellbeing Budget 2022 – for a secure future for New Zealand. I’m the Minister of Health, and this was ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt helps supermarket shoppers get a fair deal
    Urgent Budget night legislation to stop major supermarkets blocking competitors from accessing land for new stores has been introduced today, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Dr David Clark said. The Commerce (Grocery Sector Covenants) Amendment Bill amends the Commerce Act 1986, banning restrictive covenants on land, and exclusive covenants ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister: Wellbeing Budget 2022 speech
    It is a pleasure to speak to this Budget. The 5th we have had the privilege of delivering, and in no less extraordinary circumstances.  Mr Speaker, the business and cycle of Government is, in some ways, no different to life itself. Navigating difficult times, while also making necessary progress. Dealing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Future resource management system implementation funding
    Budget 2022 provides funding to implement the new resource management system, building on progress made since the reform was announced just over a year ago. The inadequate funding for the implementation of the Resource Management Act in 1992 almost guaranteed its failure. There was a lack of national direction about ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding certainty for quality public media
    The Government is substantially increasing the amount of funding for public media to ensure New Zealanders can continue to access quality local content and trusted news. “Our decision to create a new independent and future-focused public media entity is about achieving this objective, and we will support it with a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding boost secures Defence capabilities
    $662.5 million to maintain existing defence capabilities NZDF lower-paid staff will receive a salary increase to help meet cost-of living pressures. Budget 2022 sees significant resources made available for the Defence Force to maintain existing defence capabilities as it looks to the future delivery of these new investments. “Since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Budget 2022 supports resilient and sustainable cultural sector
    More than $185 million to help build a resilient cultural sector as it continues to adapt to the challenges coming out of COVID-19. Support cultural sector agencies to continue to offer their important services to New Zealanders. Strengthen support for Māori arts, culture and heritage. The Government is investing in a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister of Finance: Wellbeing Budget 2022 Speech
    It is my great pleasure to present New Zealand’s fourth Wellbeing Budget. In each of this Government’s three previous Wellbeing Budgets we have not only considered the performance of our economy and finances, but also the wellbeing of our people, the health of our environment and the strength of our communities. In Budget ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Wellbeing Budget 2022 Speech
    It is my great pleasure to present New Zealand’s fourth Wellbeing Budget. In each of this Government’s three previous Wellbeing Budgets we have not only considered the performance of our economy and finances, but also the wellbeing of our people, the health of our environment and the strength of our communities. In Budget ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Coronial delays addressed by Budget 2022
    Four new permanent Coroners to be appointed Seven Coronial Registrar roles and four Clinical Advisor roles are planned to ease workload pressures Budget 2022 delivers a package of investment to improve the coronial system and reduce delays for grieving families and whānau. “Operating funding of $28.5 million over four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Paving the way for better outcomes for disabled people
    Establishment of Ministry for Disabled People Progressing the rollout of the Enabling Good Lives approach to Disability Support Services to provide self-determination for disabled people Extra funding for disability support services “Budget 2022 demonstrates the Government’s commitment to deliver change for the disability community with the establishment of a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Investing in education so all Kiwis can succeed
    Fairer Equity Funding system to replace school deciles The largest step yet towards Pay Parity in early learning Local support for schools to improve teaching and learning A unified funding system to underpin the Reform of Vocational Education Boost for schools and early learning centres to help with cost ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Primary sector backed to grow and innovate
    $118.4 million for advisory services to support farmers, foresters, growers and whenua Māori owners to accelerate sustainable land use changes and lift productivity  $40 million to help transformation in the forestry, wood processing, food and beverage and fisheries sectors  $31.6 million to help maintain and lift animal welfare practices across Aotearoa New Zealand A total food and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More support for first home buyers and renters
    House price caps for First Home Grants increased in many parts of the country House price caps for First Home Loans removed entirely Kāinga Whenua Loan cap will also be increased from $200,000 to $500,000 The Affordable Housing Fund to initially provide support for not-for-profit rental providers Significant additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Budget lifts up to 14,000 children out of poverty
    Child Support rules to be reformed lifting an estimated 6,000 to 14,000 children out of poverty Support for immediate and essential dental care lifted from $300 to $1,000 per year Increased income levels for hardship assistance to extend eligibility Budget 2022 takes further action to reduce child poverty and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • A booster for RNA research and development
    More support for RNA research through to pilot manufacturing RNA technology platform to be created to facilitate engagement between research and industry partners Researchers and businesses working in the rapidly developing field of RNA technology will benefit from a new research and development platform, funded in Budget 2022. “RNA ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Unleashing business potential across NZ
    A new Business Growth Fund to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow Fully funding the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund to unleash regional economic development opportunities Tourism Innovation Programme to promote sustainable recovery Eight Industry Transformation Plans progressed to work with industries, workers and iwi to transition ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Securing the wellbeing of Pacific communities
    Budget 2022 further strengthens the economic foundations and wellbeing outcomes for Pacific peoples in Aotearoa, as the recovery from COVID-19 continues. “The priorities we set for Budget 2022 will support the continued delivery of our commitments for Pacific peoples through the Pacific Wellbeing Strategy, a 2020 manifesto commitment for Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government delivers timely support for whānau
    Boost for Māori economic and employment initiatives. More funding for Māori health and wellbeing initiatives Further support towards growing language, culture and identity initiatives to deliver on our commitment to Te Reo Māori in Education  Funding for natural environment and climate change initiatives to help farmers, growers and whenua ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government delivers critical infrastructure
    New hospital funding for Whangārei, Nelson and Hillmorton 280 more classrooms over 40 schools, and money for new kura $349 million for more rolling stock and rail network investment The completion of feasibility studies for a Northland dry dock and a new port in the Manukau Harbour Increased infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • A health system that takes care of Māori
    $168 million to the Māori Health Authority for direct commissioning of services $20.1 million to support Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards $30 million to support Māori primary and community care providers $39 million for Māori health workforce development Budget 2022 invests in resetting our health system and gives economic security in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Investing in better health services
    Biggest-ever increase to Pharmac’s medicines budget Provision for 61 new emergency vehicles including 48 ambulances, along with 248 more paramedics and other frontline staff New emergency helicopter and crew, and replacement of some older choppers $100 million investment in specialist mental health and addiction services 195,000 primary and intermediate aged ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • A Secure Future for New Zealanders’ health
    Landmark reform: new multi-year budgets for better planning and more consistent health services Record ongoing annual funding boost for Health NZ to meet cost pressures and start with a clean slate as it replaces fragmented DHB system ($1.8 billion year one, as well as additional $1.3 billion in year ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Cost of living package eases impact on households – 2.1 million Kiwis to get new targeted payment
    Fuel Excise Duty and Road User Charges cut to be extended for two months Half price public transport extended for a further two months New temporary cost of living payment for people earning up to $70,000 who are not eligible to receive the Winter Energy Payment Estimated 2.1 million New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Budget highlights underlying strength of economy in face of global headwinds
    A return to surplus in 2024/2025 Unemployment rate projected to remain at record lows Net debt forecast to peak at 19.9 percent of GDP in 2024, lower than Australia, US, UK and Canada Economic growth to hit 4.2 percent in 2023 and average 2.1 percent over the forecast period A ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Budget 2022: A secure future in difficult times
    Cost of living payment to cushion impact of inflation for 2.1 million Kiwis Record health investment including biggest ever increase to Pharmac’s medicines budget First allocations from Climate Emergency Response Fund contribute to achieving the goals in the first Emissions Reduction Plan Government actions deliver one of the strongest ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Budget 2022: A secure future
    Budget 2022 will help build a high wage, low emissions economy that provides greater economic security, while providing support to households affected by cost of living pressures. Our economy has come through the COVID-19 shock better than almost anywhere else in the world, but other challenges, both long-term and more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Health Minister to attend World Health Assembly in Geneva
    Health Minister Andrew Little will represent New Zealand at the first in-person World Health Assembly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from Sunday 22 – Wednesday 25 May (New Zealand time). “COVID-19 has affected people all around the world, and health continues to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New efforts to counter illegal timber trade
    New Zealand is committing to trade only in legally harvested timber with the Forests (Legal Harvest Assurance) Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament today. Under the Bill, timber harvested in New Zealand and overseas, and used in products made here or imported, will have to be verified as being legally harvested. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Deaths in New Zealand lower than expected so far during the pandemic
    The Government has welcomed the release today of StatsNZ data showing the rate at which New Zealanders died from all causes during the COVID-19 pandemic has been lower than expected. The new StatsNZ figures provide a measure of the overall rate of deaths in New Zealand during the pandemic compared ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New law helps secure New Zealand’s maritime domain
    Legislation that will help prevent serious criminal offending at sea, including trafficking of humans, drugs, wildlife and arms, has passed its third reading in Parliament today, Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta announced. “Today is a milestone in allowing us to respond to the increasingly dynamic and complex maritime security environment facing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Trade and Export Growth Minister to travel to Bangkok for APEC
    Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor is set to travel to Thailand this week to represent New Zealand at the annual APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting in Bangkok. “I’m very much looking forward to meeting my trade counterparts at APEC 2022 and building on the achievements we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago