Novel coronavirus update - 11th February 2020

News article

11 February 2020

Note: for the most recent information see our main novel coronavirus page.

There are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Health is continuing to work with border agencies to ensure recent arrivals from mainland China are aware of the need to self-isolate for 14 days and register with Healthline.

There's been an encouraging response to this initiative, with a further 482 registrations for self-isolation made yesterday (10 February). This brings the total number of registrations to 1204, since register went live at 5pm on Friday 7 February.

Anyone who has not yet registered as a result of their travel to China, should do so. This will help ensure we can regularly check on people’s welfare and wellbeing while they are in self-isolation, while supporting New Zealand’s overall response to novel coronavirus.

Healthline's dedicated coronavirus number, 0800 358 5453, is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In addition, the Ministry is also working with Customs to enable Healthline to proactively contact all people who have arrived in New Zealand from or via China since February 2.

There have been some media reports about airborne transmission of novel coronavirus but these reports are not supported by any scientific evidence.

The scientific evidence available about the coronavirus confirms that, within a community setting, it is droplet spread, not airborne.

This means it is spread by people coughing or sneezing, close personal contact and coming into contact with an object or surface with viral particles on it (then touching your mouth, nose or eyes).

That's why it's really important to practice good hygiene, regularly wash your hands, and practice good cough etiquette (maintaining distance, covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing and washing hands).

We continue to review the evolving evidence on the novel coronavirus and will update the advice on our website accordingly.

New Zealand is also continuing to strengthen our ability to test for novel coronavirus. ESR has been successfully testing samples since January 31. In addition, Canterbury Health Labs (CHL) and Lab Plus in Auckland are now also able to accept respiratory samples and provide a novel coronavirus diagnostic test.

All three laboratories are running tests daily, operating 7 days per week. The Ministry wants to acknowledge the scientists who have put these essential services in place so quickly.