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18 passengers seated near coronavirus patient placed in 'supervised self-isolation'

Eighteen people have been placed in supervised self-isolation after being identified as having sat in the "seats of interest" around the passenger who tested positive with coronavirus. 

Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Source: 1 NEWS

The Ministry of Health says initial contact has been made with all passengers who were in seats surrounding the passenger for longer than 15 minutes. 

This includes those who were two rows in front, two rows behind or on the same row as the infected passenger on Emirates flight EK450 which landed in Auckland on Wednesday after stopping over in Bali.

Health officials are still working to make contact and reassure other passengers who had been on the flight.  

"This is essentially the same rationale for when we brought back the Kiwis and others out of Wuhan and the Kiwis off the Diamond Princess, we have put them in quarantine. That is to limit further spread,"says Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 

Initial contact has been made with all 18 people, which included visitors to the country, through the information provided through their passenger arrival card. 

Dr Bloomfield says in the case they only provided their email as a source of contact, health officials are now also following "other channels" to make sure all passengers are reached. 

The passengers who have been placed in self-isolation will be visited daily by a public health unit to check their condition as well as an initial health assessment. 

According to Dr Bloomfield, some of the passengers are in Auckland, while others are in isolation in Nelson and at least one is reported to be in Christchurch. 

He says as the disease is only spread through droplets, such as spit, this means the disease is only likely to have spread to those passengers in close contact.