On March 31, officers from the Ministry of Defense of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Defense Operations and Civil Rescue completed a 3-day online training in Crisis Management. The course comes from the British Cabinet Office’s School of Emergency Planning.
Course participants explore the principles of crisis management and integrated emergency management frameworks. Decisive and well-managed execution, continuous improvement, and adaptation are the keys to keeping the crisis management system current and up to date; learning from mistakes is part of this development. This training provides an overview of UK laws and structures relating to crisis response, the role of the British government during such situations.
On the final day of the training course, the British Embassy John Hamilton’s Charge d ‘Affaires, took the opportunity to thank the Government and the Ministry of Defense of Turkmenistan for their active participation, and emphasized that crises can occur in any form, natural or man-made. , and we must be prepared for all of them.
Mr Hamilton reminded attendees that:
The fast-growing risks we need to be prepared for are the consequences of climate change. We are seeing changes in weather patterns around the world causing droughts, floods, hurricanes, landslides and a host of other disasters to occur immediately and slowly. Addressing all the challenges of climate change is the greatest challenge our generation will face.
The British Embassy and the UK Ministry of Defense are pleased to offer this online course to officials of the Ministry of Defense of Turkmenistan, and for their active participation in making this course such a success. We look forward to working together again in the future.
A woman with Tourette syndrome is barred from boarding planes at Hamilton airport despite warning ground crew about her condition.
Destiny Te Whiu tries to catch a plane to Wellington on March 12, hoping to return home for his birthday the next day.
The 22-year-old man, who was only diagnosed with Tourette last year, warned Air New Zealand staff that he had the condition and was told there would be no problems. However, the captain stopped him from boarding the plane after hearing one of his tics.
This is the first time he has tried to board a plane since his diagnosis. Apart from that, Te Whiu also had a fear of heights, which always made flying a tense situation for him.
She’s been nervous ever since she arrived at the airport, worried that her stress is worsening her symptoms and tics getting her into trouble.
“I was very afraid of heights which could be the reason why I was stressed, plus I haven’t been flying in a while.
“It was very stressful,” he said.
Because different stressful situations trigger different tic attacks, the young woman doesn’t know what symptoms she will experience at the airport.
As much as he tried to stay calm, to fend off the tic attacks, he started to become increasingly anxious – and then the poor tic appeared.
“I started hearing myself say I had a gun and I thought ‘oh no, this is not good’ and thought I should tell the crew – it’s my first time so I don’t know and I’m alone.”
He warns ground crews when dropping his bags at check-in, because tic attacks are unpredictable and, he added, he knows his tattoos can make him look even more threatening to some.
“They were like ‘okay cool’. I told them there is one thing I have said since I arrived at the airport and that is ‘I have a gun’, which I don’t have,” he said.
He said the crew alerted the captain and, moments later, he heard his name being called, just before he saw his bag being taken out again.
“A woman came five minutes later and sat next to me and apologized and said I couldn’t get on the plane, the captain didn’t let me get on because of my tics. I was crying,” she said.
“I just want to go home and see my family – it’s been a month and it’s my birthday the next day.
“Two hours later after the crying session, the woman asked if I wanted snacks and water. I had some. Then she explained that I would be given a hotel for the night, with free dinner, and they got me a driver to and from the hotel. “
Te Whiu was booked for a flight to Wellington the following morning.
“I was very worried. I couldn’t sleep the night before, which is obviously very bad for the tics. Luckily, I got on the plane and just fell asleep,” he said.
‘I won’t want this to anyone’
Tourette’s syndrome is a nervous system disorder that involves repetitive movements or unwanted sounds, known as tics.
“I was born like everyone else,” he said, explaining how he developed the syndrome as a result of stress.
Te Whiu is now learning to treat the condition, after initial shock diagnosis.
“It’s not something I would expect of anyone,” he said.
“When I was diagnosed, I had a really hard time,” he recalls, adding that he would be shut up indoors, away from the world.
“I cried continuously every time I tried to hang out with other people, even paying for gas was difficult. It was really hard for a month, then I got used to it and accepted it.
“I have doctor appointments constantly and I try to set it up and see where I am with it all the time,” he added.
He said no day was the same, as his symptoms varied depending on the level of stress he was under.
These days, Te Whiu is open about Tourette so that her tics don’t surprise the people she interacts with.
He said there is a community of Tourette sufferers in New Zealand, which he hopes Air New Zealand will listen to, to make sure this never happens again.
“I want to sit with people who are capable of making a difference so that we in the Tourette community can really speak up,” said Te Whiu.
Te Whiu said he hoped he, O’Connell and fellow sufferer Leighton Clarke, who all used social media to spread awareness about the condition, could sit down with Air New Zealand staff about the issue.
Air New Zealand apologizes for ‘misunderstanding’
Air New Zealand has since apologized to Te Whiu and admitted he should have been allowed to board the plane on March 12.
“While customers owning Tourette are not required to seek medical clearance before flying regretfully, misunderstanding of the procedure between staff members resulted in the decision being made not to allow these customers to board their aircraft as their verbal tic could potentially cause security issues, Chief Operational Integrity and Safety. Air New Zealand Captain David Morgan told the Herald.
“Medical clearance is only required if the customer is physically unable to complete the flight safely and requires permission from our in-flight medical team.”
Morgan said Te Whiu’s experience was “inconsistent” with airline policy and “not high standards of care / management. [Air New Zealand] likes to show customers “.
“The situation has highlighted areas that we can improve on. We have investigated our processes and made sure all relevant business areas are in line with the correct policies and procedures to prevent similar situations from occurring again, particularly with tourists with Tourette or accidental verbal harassment.
“We have reached out to customers to apologize for this experience and have been seeking feedback on how Air New Zealand can better support the Tourette community,” added Morgan.
Public health director Caroline McElnay has admitted that health officials were “scratching their heads” at the latest Pullman Covid-19 case, after another former MIQ victim tested positive.
The Ministry of Health today confirmed a community Covid-19 case in Hamilton.
The person has been in isolation since January 30 and has returned three negative tests, the most recent of which was February 2.
He said the ministry is not advising people to cancel events. The Hamilton Waitangi Day event was canceled this morning, with the host referring to information obtained from “credible health sources” of new positive cases of Covid-19 in the community.
McElnay said this afternoon that everyone leaving Pullman must self-isolate for five days after they leave.
This case does this.
“We are looking at all options,” he said, when asked if people need to isolate themselves from a longer time.
“It’s something that’s being actively reviewed.”
He said it would be a “very reasonable precautionary measure”.
McElnay said the ministry was considering extending the quarantine period.
The man was at Pullman from January 16-30. The person is on the same floor with several recent positive cases.
When asked if there had been any crossover with another positive case recently from Pullman, he said he needed to check. Northland’s positive case recently left the facility on January 15.
McElnay said the ministry was still investigating how it spread.
“We haven’t ruled out any possibility …
“We are scratching our heads a little,” he said, responding to a question about the latest Pullman outbreak.
He said there was a strong system at the moment but said “I don’t know if it’s luck”.
He spoke about the New Zealand system, saying they were tried and tested.
Hamilton’s last individual test came back positive yesterday afternoon.
They just came back from abroad.
He doesn’t know whether the Covid-19 strain is a South African variant. Further tests are being carried out and the person is now in Jet Park.
The person lives with two other people, who are treated as close contacts. Both gave negative results.
Everyone wears masks in communal places in the house.
McElnay said there were no locations of interest at this stage.
He said the only people who needed to be tested were symptomatic people, as usual.
The Waikato DHB has expanded the number of testing stations.
At Pullman, he said investigations into the facility were continuing. McElnay said the Ministry had looked at the common area.
McElnay said there were 60 people left at Pullman. The guests leaving tomorrow is the last stage to leave.
There is an “in-depth overview” of all MIQ facilities in progress, but he cannot provide a timeline of when the results will be available.
McElnay “firmly believed” that this person did not come out while they were isolated.
“They’ve stayed home, they’ve never been anywhere else,” said McElnay.
He has a “high level of assurance” that this case can be resolved.
McElnay was unsure of the chain of transmission and said this person “could be a historic case” but they are running more tests.
The person is still asymptomatic. McElnay said it was imperative that swabbing was carried out to the “highest standards”.
He said he had faith in the testing regime.
There are two other Covid-19 cases today – one at the border and one historic.
The Health Ministry this morning played down the seriousness of the situation, saying the risks to public health were low.
“People in and around Hamilton need not worry,” the ministry said in a statement this morning.
The new case is someone who lives at the Pullman Hotel and they have been in self-isolation since returning home on January 30.
Officials said the person returned three negative tests before they tested positive for Covid-19.
“This case reinforces the importance of self-isolation and the repeated testing strategy we have adopted around people leaving managed isolation at Pullman.”
The Health Ministry’s statement came after the Hamilton Waitangi Day event was canceled because, according to the host, “a credible health source” said there were new positive cases of Covid-19 in the community.
Initially, health officials would not confirm the case but Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate told Stuff that the Health Ministry was investigating a “possible low-risk case”.
“It’s understandable that people are worried. Everyone wants to keep this virus away,” he said.
“This is definitely not the time to panic or anything,” he said, adding that he had not been given reason to be worried at this stage.
Today’s new case is the fifth case of someone who has tested positive for Covid after they left managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins ordered an investigation into the hotel to find out why the virus is spreading.
He has not announced the results of the investigation.
Hipkins also ordered a “deep clean” of the hotel before any new people were allowed to isolate at the facility.
Creating costumes for dazzling musical productions is difficult enough without having to contend with a shortage of essential items like elastic and thread.
It is just one of the many challenges related to COVID that Hamilton Australia’s fellow costume partner, Jude Loxley, is taking in stride.
“The things we will take for granted, [like] sending supplies and fabrics and samples of physical costumes around the world, is indeed complicated, “he said.
“If you buy elastic from our supplier they ask if it’s for masks because if so, they’re trying to push people to a different product so they can keep what we need available.”
And with over 100 yards of lace per dress, every spool counts.
“We are lacking in things we never thought we would have … [like] elastic, thread, very basic stuff, “he says.
“So it’s really amazing to see how much has gone into this build because of the things we challenged to get.”
Despite this, 65 costume production teams have produced the goods, creating more than 500 period outfits, filled with handmade shoes and accessories.
Not missing a single historical detail, a special “Hamilton cloth” has even been created to allow the dancers to wear an elastic material that looks like a traditional woven moleskin.
On the part of the wig, COVID has created a similar hurdle.
The team painstakingly crafted more than 30 wigs – each taking more than 60 hours to complete – designed especially for each player.
“I had to import all my hair from Rome and the UK and some supplies in the United States so shipping was difficult,” said hair and wig associate Kylie Clarke.
“A lot of people work off-site for me in production, so there must be some challenges.”
For bespoke music shoe maker Jodie Morrison, taking measurements against FaceTime has been a cute but necessary solution.
“We are only halfway through but we may have made 100 [pairs of shoes] already and there are about 35 hours per pair, so we’re busy, “he said.
A pandemic means seeking more supplies locally, including kangaroo skins from Queensland.
No setback proved too great for the talented costume production team.
“It is really very exciting, especially in these times with COVID, just to be able to continue working in our industry and be able to deliver a great show to the audience,” said Loxley.
“I feel honored to be a part of it.”
Outside the clothing workshops, planning is under way to ensure the musical can appear on stage against the backdrop of COVID-19.
The production has been granted an exemption from the NSW Government which will allow it to screen up to 75 percent of audience capacity when it opens at Sydney’s Lyric Theater in March, due to the venue’s own COVID protocol.
Producer Michael Cassel says keeping the company and audience safe is priority number one.
“We have to be ready to adapt and I think certainly what we have seen over the last few weeks along with climate change, we have to be ready to be able to implement new plans and procedures and be agile,” he said.