August 19, 2008

New Zealand Hospital Lockdown Goes On

New Zealand hospital lockdown goes on

WELLINGTON, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- A lockdown at New Zealand's Dunedin Hospital due to an outbreak of a norovirus has been extended, Radio New Zealand reported.

The continuation of the lockdown meant all outpatient appointments, including x-rays, all planned admissions, investigations and elective surgery scheduled for Monday had been canceled, officials said.

Staff were contacting all 800 people affected. Managers at the Dunedin Hospital will meet on Monday morning to decide whether to end the lockdown imposed on Saturday.

Over the past three weeks, more than 50 patients and staff have been diagnosed with norovirus, which can cause stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.

Dunedin Hospital operations manager Megan Boivin said on Sunday that another seven cases had been reported in the past 24 hours, forcing the lockdown to continue.

Only hospital personnel bearing identification badges are allowed access. Security guards are posted at entrances to the hospital.

"There is pressure on the hospital but we are managing the best we can."

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