Government announces additional 'precautionary measures' at NZ airports over deadly China coronavirus

The Ministry of Health is stepping up measures to control the entry of the deadly coronavirus into New Zealand by dispatching public health staff to meet all incoming flights from China.

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The virus has killed at least 56 in China and reached Australian shores. Source: 1 NEWS

A flight from mainland China is due to touch down in Auckland tomorrow at 6.30am.

The Minister of Health, David Clark announced today that all incoming flights from China will have public health staff allocated to monitor passengers who present as unwell.

"Health officials began preparations for placing staff at our major airports last week, and we will have that in place for all flights from China tomorrow," he said.

Both Auckland and Christchurch International Airports will have a public health nurse available to take the temperature of incoming passengers from flights from China who feel unwell.

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If their temperature is over 38 degrees, they will be offered further advice and assessment as appropriate.

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Health officials will be in place before fights from mainland China are scheduled to arrive.

“I want to assure the public that New Zealand is well prepared for these sorts of situations – we are active and alert, but not alarmed,” David Clark said.

“The Ministry of Health has been actively responding to the novel coronavirus since 6 January, when it first sent out advice to GPs and DHBs. Chinese language health advice cards have also been being provided at the border.

“Despite not having had any cases in New Zealand, the Ministry has an Incident Control Team in place and we are sharing information and working closely with international partners. The government’s Interagency Pandemic Group has also been convened as a precaution, to ensure New Zealand is prepared," Mr Clark said.

The Death toll from the virus outbreak in China has now risen to 56 with a total of 1,975 cases reported.

Australia and Malaysia reported their first cases yesterday and Japan, its third.

France confirmed three cases on Friday, the first in Europe, and the US identified its second, a woman in Chicago who had returned from China.

In Canada, one person has been confirmed today has having the deadly virus.