By RNZ

Nelson-Marlborough Health has confirmed that two people from the region are being monitored for any signs they have contracted coronavirus.

A health board spokesperson said the two were passengers on the Emirates flight from Dubai to Auckland, via Bali, on which a traveller was confirmed on Friday as having the virus.

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The two people in the Nelson-Marlborough region were now in isolation and were being monitored daily by the Nelson Marlborough Public Health Services, but neither had been tested.

The health board has been on alert since January and has since been planning a management response.

Nelson-Marlborough's medical officer of health was urging people with cold or flu symptoms to call their health provider rather than turn up at a clinic.

Nick Baker told a recent public meeting in Nelson that the health board was well prepared with any arrival of the coronavirus, but people needed to be cautious when seeking healthcare.

He said "super spreader" events, which occurred when the virus was propagated from within the health system - usually by patients just turning up, were a "very difficult thing to manage".

"One of the key messages for us in health is that we want people to access healthcare in a controlled manner, which is really, call ahead.

"If we've got the person in a position where we're less likely to spread it, staff are
protected and we can manage this."

Dr Baker said employers should be encouraging staff to get vaccinated against the flu this winter.

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He said this would help health workers distinguish between the common flu, and the coronavirus, if people presented with symptoms.

It would also help businesses to reduce potential disruptions.

"Getting early, complete uptake is likely to enable employers with their business continuity plans, and it will make life a lot less confusing for us in health, as we try to distinguish between coronavirus and flu."