New Zealand entrepreneur of the year Nick Mowbray says the government needs to be doing much more to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Mowbray said he had just got off the phone with Zuru's China office where cases of the virus are flat-lining.

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"We have had now a month and a half to learn what is going on and learn from those countries where the curve is exponential and those getting it under control."


Mowbray said it was "crazy" that there was no thermal testing at Auckland International Airport and that gatherings were still being allowed to go ahead, while cruise ships were being allowed to dock without any extra precautions.

"It is crazy we are not taking stricter measures."

National party leader Simon Bridges revealed on Twitter that he shared the same view as Mowbray, writing that the Government needs to be doing more to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did not rule out a ban on travellers coming in from Europe - as President Donald Trump announced for travellers into the US.

She also did not rule out restrictions for people coming from the US where the outbreak has also been escalated with more than 1000 infected and 41 deaths.

Mowbray said while border closures would have an impact on tourism, it was necessary.

He said Singapore, Hong Kong and China had learned from the SARS outbreak and taken lessons from it.

In China every individual was being required to update their health status on social media site WeChat on a daily basis.


Those who were sick were required to self-isolate and there was security outside all apartments. People were not allowed to go into supermarkets without wearing a face mask.

When it came to Zuru's offices it had thermal testing before staff came into the office and then a second test later on in the day.

The offices were being sanitised and cleaned on a daily basis while all staff were required to sanitise their hands before starting work. Workers were required to turn up at staggered 15 minute intervals to get in to the office.

Staff were also not allowed to go to the office cafeteria and lunches were being packaged individually and delivered to people.

He said countries like Singapore had fast result test kits and thermal testing stations.

"Our airport has nothing. We should be shutting our border to Europe for at least two weeks."

"We are letting cruises come in with zero precautions at the border."

"We need to get ahead of this. Now is the time to act."

Mowbray said while the closures would have an impact on tourism it was necessary.

"There is no point waiting for it to become a crisis, because it will."

"We need to be aware how devastating it will be."

He said there needed to be better controls at the borders, and gatherings like the Christchurch commemorations should be cancelled.

"We are an island. We have an opportunity to get on top of this."

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He said Zuru's offices in China were reduced to 30 to 40 per cent capacity during the initial outbreak but were now back up to 80 per cent.

"There you can't go into a supermarket without a mask. It is really disciplined. Here we are complacent. Look at what happens when you are complacent - Italy."

He said people travelling back to New Zealand had contacted him saying there was nothing at the airport.

"I am angry about the response."

The government is expected to unveil a suite of initiatives including wage subsidies and tax support to support firms hit hard by the covid-19 outbreak next week.

He said business support would be important whether that was with tax relief or other solutions as New Zealand was likely to be heading into a recession.

"We are going into winter here so it is going to be a lot tougher."

"I think we need to be aware how quickly compounding happens ... if we don't take all the right measures."

Mowbray said he had tried getting in contact with the health minister and the PM's office about his concerns. He had talked to Adrian Littlewood - chief executive at the airport but without any luck.

"We need to be way more proactive." He said it was not enough to ask people travelling from Italy to self-isolate and was concerned about all the people who had got on the plane and traveled to New Zealand with those people.

Mowbray himself won't be travelling. He has cancelled a trip to the US and has set up video-conferencing and hand sanitiser stations.

Those employees with pre-existing health conditions were being encouraged to work from home.

"It is really naive of Jacinda to say we don't need thermal imaging."

He said New Zealand needed a combination of multiple steps. Mowbray said if New Zealand did not take steps people with compromised immune systems would put pressure on the health system.

"We need to be way more vigilant," he said pointing to the US and the rise in cases there.

"That will happen here. We need to take the right precautions to make sure it doesn't happen."

That included cancelling the Christchurch memorial service.

In the US sporting events were being cancelled... "and we think we are immune here."

"Our approach needs to be extremely comprehensive."