A Hawke's Bay backpackers has closed its doors to all foreign visitors, claiming an Italian backpacker lied to them in a bid to get a bed.
Hastings-based backpackers Farmhouse Lodge on Tuesday erected a sign outside their Fernhill accommodation advising customers the venue had "no vacancies for foreign backpackers".
Owner Dawson Bliss said the decision to allow only New Zealanders a room at the lodge was one made out of coronavirus caution.
"It stemmed from an Italian backpacker that turned up at the lodge last week who told my wife he'd been in the country for two weeks," he said.
"She checked his passport and the stamp said he'd arrived two days before. That is what set off alarm bells."
The virus, which is believed to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market in Wuhan, China, has so far claimed the lives of 7144 people around the world, with nearly 182,403 confirmed cases.
Italy, the second most affected country, has over 25,000 confirmed cases, with a death toll of 2158.
A Human Rights Commission spokeswoman said while they don't comment on individual cases, they encourage everyone to "resist judging and typecasting people based on their ethnicity, nationality or physical appearance".
"There are legitimate, and understandable, public health concerns at present and it is important to follow the instructions and advice from the Ministry of Health," she said.
"It is also important to be aware of obligations under the Human Rights Act, which prohibit discrimination in a number of circumstances and on a wide variety of grounds.
"These include ethnicity, national origins and having a physical illness and/or organisms in the body capable of causing illness. There are some exceptions to the general rules."
Bliss, who runs the backpackers lodge along State Highway 5, near Fernhill, with his partner Novia, said he is happy to suffer financially if it means keeping the country safe.
"We've got to take a financial hit from this, but so be it. We are here for the long term, not the short term.
"Backpackers associate with backpackers. There are backpackers who aren't going to self-isolate when arriving, which is where the problem lies."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Saturday that any person, excluding Pacific islanders, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival to the country.
The strict restrictions have many in the region wary, even though a case has yet to be reported.
Napier resident Gwen Brocklehurst, who flew back from Wellington on an Air New Zealand flight on Monday afternoon, said at least five people on her flight were on government implemented self-isolation.
"A lady next to me told me she, her daughter and her granddaughter had just got back from Australia and they, along with two others in the seats in front, were all on government imposed self-isolation for two-weeks," she said.
Brocklehurst said Air New Zealand should have a "duty of care" to give passengers options if travelling in the same aircraft as those who've recently returned from overseas.
"I'm not saying they've got it, but I find it beggars belief that the government is imposing self-isolation, which I'm in full agreement with, that allows people to take a tour around New Zealand before," she said.
"The people who are going into self-isolation should have been told to wear masks, get them to sit at the back of aircraft or give us the option to rearrange our travel."
Brocklehurst added: "You can't impose these restrictions and have a gaping hole in the process. I am disgusted that I've potentially been put at risk, along with everyone else on that plane."
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said: "As outlined by the Ministry of Health, people are able to use internal flights and public transport after arriving on an international flight to get to their house or location, then self-isolate."
"We have no record of any customers becoming unwell on NZ8894 yesterday," she added.
Paranoia levels have also risen amongst parents, with some refusing to send their children to school for fear of coronavirus.
Principals' Federation President Perry Rush dismissed the fears and said children should go to school.
"The virus is being successfully managed at the moment," he said.
"It's not being spread person-to-person and I would just encourage parents to be thinking carefully about the importance of continuing to see their child go to school. Attendance every day that a school is open is really vital.
"I think it underlines the importance ... of taking a really sensible and measured and carefully-considered approach to what is happening so we're not panicking each other into over-reacting."
Hawke's Bay supermarkets were busy on Tuesday, with many reports of essentials running low.
Some are now limiting the number of toilet rolls customers are allowed to purchase, with Hastings Pak'nSave enforcing a two-packs per customer rule.