Test results for two people in New Zealand who have symptoms consistent with coronavirus are expected back today - the pair are among 140 people who have been tested around the country so far.
Authorities were late yesterday awaiting the results of 11 of the latest tests, including those from two people with "travel history" and symptoms that were "close to the suspected case definition" of the virus.
"They fulfilled the travel criteria, and have got symptoms that would be consistent with Covid-19," said Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.
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Bloomfield appeared to have little other information and said he didn't know which part of the country they were in.
Bloomfield did confirm they were not on the same Emirates flight as the patient in isolation at Auckland City Hospital. To date that is our only confirmed Covid-19 case in New Zealand.
Nelson-Marlborough Health confirmed that two people were also being monitored for signs of Covid-19, but they were different people to the cases that Bloomfield spoke about.
A health board spokesperson said the two were passengers on the same Emirates flight as the person who has tested positive for the virus.
The two people were now in isolation and were being monitored daily by health services, but neither had been tested.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Covid-19 patient in Auckland Hospital, a New Zealand citizen who had been visiting family in Iran, was stable and improving.
She said 15 passengers who were near the patient on the Emirates flight into Auckland on Wednesday via Bali - had been traced.
All but 10 people on the flight had been contacted, even those not in close proximity to the patient, as a precaution.
The Government has stepped up precautions, extending the travel ban on foreigners arriving from China and Iran by another week, until March 10, and cancelling Foreign Minister Winston Peters' trip to the Pacific, scheduled for later this month.
While the travel ban has not been imposed on northern Italy or South Korea, people arriving from those places would have to self-isolate for 14 days. They would need to register with Healthline to enable health officials to ensure they comply.
Ardern said travellers from those regions planning to holiday in New Zealand might want to reconsider their plans, as they would have to be stationary for a fortnight. "We know self-isolation works."
Measures are also being put in place to ensure every person arriving on an international flight will be given public health information.
At her post-Cabinet press conference yesterday, Ardern also announced $4 million to bolster the Regional Business Partner network, which would help businesses with issues such as cashflow and the ability to pay taxes.
Ministry of Social Development teams were also helping affected workers transition into other jobs.
Ardern said 300 individuals on the east coast had been affected by at least a reduction of work hours.
She and Finance Minister Grant Robertson were meeting with business representatives and the Council of Trade Unions last night, and would meet with Air NZ and her business advisory group later this week.
"In the meantime, public health remains our primary focus."
There are about 87,000 global cases of Covid-19. About 3000 deaths had been linked to the virus, while about 42,000 individuals are thought to have recovered.
Bloomfield said the Ministry of Health was modelling how Covid-19 coronavirus might move around the country, but it was "early days".
There were still six people from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in isolation at Whangaparāoa, he said.
Travel restrictions - what you need to know
• Foreign nationals arriving in New Zealand from mainland China or Iran cannot enter New Zealand as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
People who are exempt from the temporary restrictions are:
New Zealand citizens (including those from the three Countries of the Realm: Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands), permanent residents and their immediate family,
Australian citizens and permanent residents whose primary place of established residence is New Zealand, air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment.
People should self-isolate for 14 days after their return if they have been in mainland China or Iran, or exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.
• People who have been in or transitted through northern Italy or South Korea should self-isolate for 14 days after their return.
• There are still six people from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in isolation at Whangaparaoa.
• The 157 people who were evacuated from Wuhan - where the outbreak of the virus originated - are out of isolation. They stayed in quarantine at Whangaparaoa for 14 days.