Rotorua health authorities have kick-started a pandemic response plan in case the deadly coronavirus takes hold in New Zealand.
The virus originated in the city of Wuhan in China and, as of yesterday, it had spread to more than 20 countries and claimed more than 360 lives.
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On Sunday, the Government placed temporary travel restrictions on all foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China to help contain the virus.
No cases have been confirmed in New Zealand to date.
A Lakes District Health Board spokeswoman said the DHB had "robust plans" in place, including isolation, management and treatment of symptoms, in case the virus spread to New Zealand.
"The likelihood of an imported case in New Zealand is high, however the likelihood of a widespread outbreaks remains low," the spokeswoman said.
It was anticipated the majority of cases would be put in home isolation under supervision of primary care and Toi Te Ora.
The Ministry of Health was working closely alongside DHBs and public health units around the country and the ministry would keep the DHB updated on any suspected cases.
"A range of advice for health professionals, including hospital-based, community-based and public health practitioners, has been updated with information on how to identify and investigate any cases of novel coronavirus," the spokeswoman said.
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Toi Te Ora medical officer of health Dr Phil Shoemack said: "Fastidious attention to good hand hygiene and cough etiquette, along with the physical isolation of suspected cases, are the mainstay of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus."
Good hygiene included covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing and washing hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and drying them thoroughly before eating and after using the toilet, after coughing or sneezing and after caring for sick people.
Symptoms of coronavirus included fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. These were similar to a range of other illnesses, including the flu, so if someone had these symptoms it did not necessarily mean they had coronavirus.
Shoemack said people could stay up to date with the latest information on the Ministry of Health or Toi Te Ora website.
Foodstuffs New Zealand's head of corporate affairs, Antoinette Laird, said sales for hand sanitiser and other antiseptic liquids had spiked around the country, with some stores possibly already being out of stock.
Where to get advice
If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing please telephone Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116.