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The Government may entirely prohibit the use of the sulphate of zinc inhalant. Owing to the epidemic all the Easter excursion trains and the usual sporting and other gatherings have been cut out.
In Wellington the Hon. G. W. Russell made the following statement with regard to the epidemic precautions: All the information received from Australia indicates that the epidemic in that country is gradually assuming more formidable proportions.
In consequence of this the Chief Health Officer has recommended that all shipping from Australian ports to New Zealand should be entirely prohibited, and this recommendation has been approved by me.
I regret that this course has become necessary, but in my opinion it is the one safeguard that can be employed at the present time.
Almost every vessel now arriving in the dominion from Australia shows the necessity for precautions, and until matters assume a safer stage in Australia no other course, it appears to me, is open to New Zealand but to take the action that is now taken.
In a leading article the Otago Daily Times says: The prohibition of shipping is a very drastic step indeed, and none the more welcome because of the indefiniteness of the period during which we are expected to submit to it as the one safeguard that can be employed at the present time.
Australia did not consider it necessary to place an embargo on shipping from New Zealand at the time when the influenza epidemic - virulent as it was - was at its height in this country.
While it is necessary that every precaution should be taken to prevent the recrudescence of influenza in the dominion, and while the zeal of the Health Department in working for this end cannot be too great, it is questionable whether it is absolutely necessary to put this embargo on all traffic between the Commonwealth and New Zealand. Such a procedure savours of panic action.
In view of the duration of the voyage across the Tasman Sea and the period of incubation for the disease it might be supposed that a rigid system of inspection and quarantine would meet the requirements of the situation and be an adequate safeguard.
No doubt it will save the department much anxiety and the expenditure of a good deal of energy to cut all shipping communications at once. Otherwise we should not have expected the alternative of quarantine to be summarily brushed aside.
A severe hailstorm passed over Orepuki on Wednesday afternoon, travelling west to east, says the Advocate. It was generally remarked that larger samples of hailstones had not fallen there before.
The stones were also of an unusual shape, being flatly spherical and marked all round with deep corrugations. The visitation was purely local, no hail falling at Pahia.
- ODT, 16.4.1919
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