COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) update, 29 February

News article

29 February 2020

Note: for the most recent information see our main COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) page.


  • Yesterday NZ’s first COVID-19 case was confirmed in a person in their 60’s returning from Iran.
  • NZ is prepared and ready for managing this first case.
  • The individual is stable and continuing to improve in Auckland hospital.
  • Infection protection and control staff are today circulating in Auckland hospital to provide information and support to their staff.
  • This is an isolated case – the chance of community outbreak is low, but sporadic cases are expected as we have seen in Australia – any cases would be managed and further spread prevented.
  • Contact tracing is underway for four rows of passengers near to the person with Covid-19 who arrived in NZ on Emirates flight from Bali, EK450 on Wednesday 26 February.
  • A total of 27 passengers are being contacted and given advice about appropriate precautions.
  • Outside those 27, any risk to others on the flight is no different to everyone else.
  • The Ministry’s public awareness campaign started yesterday – messages about protecting ourselves from respiratory infection – such as wash and dry hands to stop the spread of viruses.
  • We remain in the ‘Keep it out’ phase of our Influenza Pandemic Plan.
  • This is a well-managed, well-confined case.  The number of contacts is small, and contact tracing in this case follows a well-practiced approach.
  • Rationale of the level of tracing is based on study during the 2009 epidemic done in NZ and other similar work overseas.
  • Thanks to many New Zealanders returning from mainland China who’ve undertaken self-isolation to limit the risk to themselves, their families and the wider community.
  • The World Health Organization states that facts, reason and solidarity are our greatest assets in managing COVID-19
  • Advice to passengers on flight – if they develop symptoms of cough, fever and difficulty breathing to contact Healthline on or phone their GP ahead of their visit.

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