When you are reading the news about Covid-19, you may feel puzzled over some new words. In this article, I will explain some of these words, and give sentences showing the usage. I hope this helps!
Alert level 4: this is New Zealand’s plan for controlling Covid-19 when it is already spreading in the community. see https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-system/
On Monday the 23rd of March the government made the decision to move to Alert Level 3 and then to Alert Level 4 from midnight Wednesday 25th March because COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, has started to spread through our communities.
break the chain: When people talk about “breaking the chain”, they mean that they want to break the chain of transmission. This is similar to cutting down trees in a forest fire in order to stop the fire from spreading, or cutting a telephone wire to stop communication. If people stop socialising, there is less chance to spread the virus, and this “breaks the chain”.
social distancing: if you practice social distancing, it means that you stay far away from other people so that the virus cannot be transferred. In New Zealand, the government asks that we stay at least 2 meters away from other people.
bubble: people who are inside your bubble are people who you can socialise with normally. Generally they are the people who you live with. If someone lives alone, they can form a bubble with another household. Children whose parents have separated can also have two bubbles: the household of each parent. You don’t have to practice social distancing with people who are in your bubble.
community transmission: this is when someone has caught the virus with no connection to overseas travel. It means that the virus is now spreading inside the population rather than being imported.
self-isolation: the practice of social distancing and staying home as much as possible.
essential services: these are businesses that cannot be closed because society needs them too much. Hospitals, gas stations, and supermarkets are examples of essential businesses. The government has said that all businesses have to close unless they offer essential services. There has been a lot of discussion recently about which businesses are essential. For example, should a dentist still see patients?
PPE: Personal Protective Equipment is often referred to as PPE. PPE includes things like face masks, gloves and paper gowns. These are usually worn by staff in hospitals to protect them from infection.
lockdown: this is when people must stay home and should not travel. They can go out to get important (essential) things like food or medical treatment.
kia kaha: this is a Maori language phrase which means “be strong”. You will hear people saying it a lot in New Zealand at the moment.
shut down: to close a business or organisation.