As cases of coronavirus climb globally, spare a thought for those working on the frontline with pre-existing health conditions.
New Zealand medical professionals gearing up to battle the virus are already putting themselves at greater risk- but for people with pre-existing medical conditions such as high-blood pressure, heart disease or cancer, contracting Covid-19 could have serious consequences.
Midwives deal with some of the most vulnerable members of New Zealand society- babies, and although their smaller patients may not have the disease, their visitors could be unknowingly transporting the virus.
For many women the birth of a child is when family is needed most - and for some this means overseas travel.
But for midwives, this celebration could be putting them at greater risk.
New Zealand's Midwives' Union (Meras) co-leader Caroline Conroy said they just want to keep midwives safe, therefore it was concerning to have high levels of overseas travellers passing through.
"I think maybe if we ask for them to say don't [come in], until they've waited for 14 days."
She said pregnant staff members also should not be required to work with infected patients during the outbreak.
It's not just midwives who are concerned, whispers around hospital emergency departments and GP's offices have grown louder and with the number of cases growing by the day, those at the coalface of emergency medicine are feeling the heat.
Island Bay Medical Director Dr Richard Medlicott said the whole issue around what to do with employees when they're off for their medical protection was an interesting one.
"Staff can always make a decision not to come in, however then you have to think, well I've got a business to run and they need some income."
He said their role as employers was not to put staff at risk, and if they could mitigate that they would do so.
The nature of working in the health care industry puts those in the field face to face with the illness, which became evident earlier in the week when it was revealed over 50 health staff were in self-isolation after coming into contact with a "probable" coronavirus patient at North Shore Hospital.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern didn't go into specifics on immunocomprimised health professionals but said there were clear guidelines on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website for general workers.
One New Zealand nurse is already on special paid leave due to coronavirus concerns and it's understood that number could grow.
New Zealand Nurses Organisation associate professional services manager Hilary Graham-Smith said if a nurse or someone in their family could be harmed then clearly that needed to be taken into consideration.
"The first step would be to have a conversation with their employer about their situation and some arrangement then needs to be made so that person is not exposed."
She said some nurses were expressing anxiety which was only natural with the tragic outcome of the virus in many countries.
"There is the whole matter of duty of care which is as much about doing no harm as it is about doing good. One would hope that nurses will see the need and step up and provide to that need,"
Nurses spoken to for this story said their colleagues were worried their work could put their families' health at risk- in particular small children.
One healthcare worker, who the Herald has agreed not to name, said the outbreak could seriously affect the health of his son who is immunocompromised.
His son has monthly hospital appointments and even if a vaccine came out, the boy probably would not be able to have it.
Although he told the Herald he was mostly concerned his son would contract the virus from other patients in hospital, but he did believe working in the healthcare industry put him at greater risk of getting the virus.
"For people in my situation it's just another arrow in the quiver [of things that could hurt his son]."
Coronavirus symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing- which is similar to the seasonal flu, making it difficult for lay-people to differentiate between the two.
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners president Dr Samantha Murton said the medical council guidance is that you should not put yourself in harm's way.
"If you are in a more risky position as a health professional then you need to find other ways that you can provide that service or refer them to someone who can."
She said there are ways to work around the situation, like using video consultations or phone work.
"We are a workforce that is already under duress - we don't have enough workforce anyway, and with a situation like this we want to be able to provide the care that we possibly can for our patients."
Murton said she knew of a few practices that have had to lock their doors to prevent potentially Covid-infected patients from coming in, and causing harm to other patients or staff.
"For some who are older or have other health conditions, yes they are worried about their own health, but for the majority of us it's being stood down for two weeks."
The real concern, Murton said was not contracting the virus themselves, but sharing it to their vulnerable patients.
In an email leaked to the Herald, the Christchurch District Health Board told employees that if they were concerned about working alongside someone who was exposed to the virus they should remain "calm, respectful and understanding".
"If your manager is unaware of the situation, then discuss your concerns with them."
Where to get advice
If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing please telephone Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116.