The mayor of Napier is urging calm after the cruise ship Ruby Princess, whose 4000 passengers visited the city, was confirmed to have four coronavirus cases on board.
It visited Napier Port on Sunday, March 15, before cruise ships were prohibited from docking due to fears of the spread of Covid-19.
The visit, and subsequent positive tests, has stoked fears on social media that some of the community could have been infected while tourists and crew were ashore.
Napier mayor Kirsten Wise is urging residents to stay calm, saying the probability of that is low.
The Ministry of Health said it was in the process of contacting the 56 New Zealanders who were on board the ship, working with Customs and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Any passengers on the cruise who have since returned to New Zealand would need to go into self-isolation for 14 days.
The Ministry's advice to passengers would be for vigilance and to contact their GP or Healthline if they displayed any Covid-19 symptoms.
As an additional step, all those returned passengers will now be treated as close contacts and followed up with daily health checks.
Wise said if anyone believed they may have come into contact with passengers from the ship and were concerned, they could call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am–1am, seven days a week).
"If you have symptoms of Covid, phone Healthline (0800 358 5453) or your GP and they'll assess whether you need to be tested."
People were unlikely to have caught the virus off a passenger if they were not showing any symptoms of Covid-19, Wise said.
"If you came into contact with people who were symptomatic, I understand from current health advice that you are unlikely to have caught the virus unless you were within one metre of that person for more than 15 minutes."
She said everyone had a role to play.
"I know this is a worrying time for many people in our community, particularly those working in frontline roles – but the best thing we can all do is follow expert advice.
"Wash and dry your hands thoroughly, stay home if you are ill, maintain a physical distance of two metres, and be kind to one another.
"Remember that a range of organisations have been preparing for this situation.
"We are all stepping up to make our communities' journey through Covid-19 as smooth as possible."
She said the goal was to stop isolated cases becoming widespread community outbreaks.
"It's more important than ever that we continue to look out for each other and check in on friends and family."
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