KEY POINTS

• Effective from midnight Sunday, all travellers, except for those coming from the Pacific islands, will have to self-isolate for 14 days on their arrival to New Zealand
• The PM says the rules are the toughest in the world
• She told New Zealanders not to travel overseas if they don't have to and issued stark advice: no hugs, hongi or handshakes
• All cruise ships have been banned to NZ until June 30
• There will also be further announcements on mass gatherings

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced all travellers will have to self-isolate on their arrival to New Zealand, apart from those coming from the Pacific Islands.

She said the measures - in effect as of midnight Sunday - include New Zealanders.

The restrictions will be reviewed in 16 days and there will be more advice for self-isolation next week. There were already clear guidelines for employers on sick pay and working-from-home advice.

It will be the strictest border restriction rules in the world, Arden said.

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"Alongside Israel and a small number of pacific islands who have effectively closed their borders this decision will mean New Zealand will have the widest ranging and toughest border restrictions of any country in the world," Ardern said.

"I make no apologies. This is an unprecedented time.

Ardern said while New Zealand doesn't have Covid-19 community transmission yet, now is the time to prepare.

"If you don't need to travel overseas, then don't. Enjoy your own backyard for a time. Stop handshakes, hugs and hongi.

"We are a tough, resilient people. We have been here before. But our journey will depend on how we work together. We are taking every measure we need as a Government.

"Look out for your neighbour, look out for your family, look out for your friends. Look after your older ones, we are all in this together."

All cruise ships are also being issued a directive to not come to New Zealand until June 30 - at which time the directive will be reviewed. This does not apply for cargo ships.

Essential air freight will still be allowed to enter the country for things like pharmaceuticals.

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"These measures that we are announcing today are about people, not products," Ardern said.

"They do not apply to cargo ships, they do not apply to cargo planes. They to not apply to marine or air crew, and we will be working to ensure we keep sea and air freight open for imports and exports.

"In short no one needs to conduct a run on their supermarket."

There will also be further announcements on mass gatherings based on the criteria of: large events in close proximity, events that are non-ticketed and events that have a large overseas number of people.

There was no decided number on how many people constituted a mass gathering but the overseas criteria of 500-1000 was similar to what the government was considering.

"We understand these decisions are disappointing people but we have to prioritise people's health," Ardern said.

Up until today, travel restrictions in New Zealand included preventing foreign nationals travelling from or transiting through mainland China or Iran from entering New Zealand.

People exempt from the temporary restrictions were self-isolating for 14 days after their return.

People who had been in Italy or the Republic of Korea (excluding airport transfer) were required to self-isolate for 14 days after their return.

And people who had travelled to Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Thailand (excluding airport transit) are being asked to aware of coronavirus symptoms but do not need to self-isolate if they are well.

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The new travel restrictions will be a massive hit to Air New Zealand, 52 per cent owned by the Government. Around 41 per cent of the airline's $6 billion annual revenue comes from international flights.

While it dominates domestic flying, it has already scaled back some domestic routes because of falling demand from business travellers. On Monday it said it could no longer forecast its profit because of uncertainty over the future of air travel.

Its share price has plunged since the start of the year when the coronavirus became known and the company has lost nearly half of its market capitalisation.

Other airlines serving New Zealand will also move quickly to change their schedules.

Ardern said New Zealand was already registering all travelers who are self isolating once entering NZ the PM said. 10,500 people have already self isolated in NZ.

The PM says our pandemic which hits hard and fast must be dealt with by "flattening the curve" to have the rate of cases in the right place - either at home on in hospital if needed.

"That is why we must go hard and we must go early," Ardern said.

"We must do everything we can to protect the health of New Zealanders.

"That is exactly why to tackle this global pandemic cabinet made far reaching and unprecedented decisions today because these are unprecedented circumstances."

A smaller number of cases have allowed New Zealand "to care for them in the right place," the PM said.

"We must plan and prepare for more cases."

She urged people there was no need for anyone to "take a run on their supermarket".

No one else in cabinet is self isolating besides Tracey Martin, she said.

The parliamentary speaker has been considering business continuity cases for self isolation of MPs and parliamentary staff.

The World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus a pandemic as the number of confirmed cases globally reaches 145,000. Just over 5400 people have died. Almost 70,000 people have recovered.

It was announced today New Zealand now has its sixth positive case of the coronavirus, an Auckland man.

There are also two probable cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

Aged in his 60s, the man recently returned to New Zealand from New Jersey, United States and was at home recovering in self-isolation.

Ardern said New Zealand had the capacity to test 1000 people a day. They were looking to increase that number.

CEO of Waitematā District Health Board Dr Dale Bramley and Director of Auckland Regional Public Health Dr William Rainge give an update on COVID-19 in the region. Video / Auckland Regional Public Health Service

"Every medical professional has the ability to test who they think needs to be tested. At their discretion."

Waitematā District Health Board chief executive Dr Dale Bramley confirmed the news to the media on Saturday afternoon.

Bramley was alerted to the sixth case on Friday and the man, who was doing well at home, did not require hospital treatment.

There was still no community spread of the virus, Bramley said.

Flying home from New Jersey via Houston, no one else on the flight should be alarmed because they were not regarded as being close contact, he said, because the feeling unwell until more than three days after he arrived back in the country, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

The man did attend the 8.30am service at St Mary's church on East St, Papakura before he became unwell and as a precaution. Close contacts were being contacted and put into self-isolation.

Family contacts of the man would also be offered testing and contact tracing was under way in Auckland, the ministry said.

The sixth confirmed case would be monitored daily by health services, Bramley said.

After starting to feel ill, the man did everything right by phoning ahead to his doctor and telling them of his travel history, about a possible link and his symptoms.

He was then assessed in his car by his GP, who was wearing the appropriate protective equipment.

Protective gear, which includes a gown, goggles, face mask, and gloves had been sent to 420 GP practices across Auckland, Bramley said.

The two previous patients in hospital - one confirmed case and another probable - were now back at home recovering with daily checks undertaken by health staff.

All close contacts of the other five confirmed cases - 252 total - were in self-isolation and were also being monitored daily by health staff, the ministry said.

Community members who were sick were told by Bramley to stay at home and not head out to public events or even work.

The advice for the public remained the same, the ministry said.

Anyone feeling unwell should ring Healthline on the dedicated Covid-19 number: 0800 358 5453 or alert their GP who would advise them.