Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been caught in a slightly awkward moment when she had to reject a call from Aussie PM Scott Morrison after he rang in the middle of a press conference today.

Ardern was holding a post-Cabinet press conference to announce the general election date and to give an update on the coronavirus and how it was impacting Kiwis.

Ardern sees the funny side of the missed phone call. Photo / via video
Ardern sees the funny side of the missed phone call. Photo / via video

The PM was in the middle of answering a question about whether New Zealand and Australia would collaborate to evacuate their citizens of Wuhan when her phone started buzzing on the lectern.

"Again without giving … ah … that's PM Morrison just dialling in as we speak," Ardern said, laughing off the interruption.


She then added: "We are in close contact over the situation. Just the work we are doing on the ground, the situation of our citizens and residents and making sure we keep up those conversations and work together.

"That's what you would expect and that's exactly what we are doing."

In his own press conference a short time later in Blayney, NSW, Mr Morrison revealed he had just spoken to the New Zealand PM about the coronavirus situation.

"I have just spoken just a few minutes ago to Prime Minister Ardern, and seeking to work closely with the New Zealand Government in supporting both their and our nationals who have been caught up in this event," he said.

"Right now, the Australian Government, through our embassy, is looking to deploy, working with the Chinese Government consular officials into Hubei Province, into Wuhan."

About 400 Australian citizens have registered for evacuation from Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the deadly virus.

Five people are being treated in Australian hospitals for the virus after returning from visiting the region, but they are understood to all be in a stable condition.

There are currently 53 New Zealanders in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus originated.


Ardern said that multiple people had contacted the Government for consular assistance.

Ardern revealed the advice she was receiving from Beijing was that it would be "very difficult to get foreign nationals out of the province even if they are healthy".

Before addressing the topic of the coronavirus, Ardern announced Kiwis would have a chance to vote for their new leader on September 19.