There is a high likelihood of New Zealand getting a case of the coronavirus, however the chances of a sustained community outbreak are low, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told media today.
"As of midday today there are over 2000 confirmed cases globally," Dr Bloomfield said, adding that "as of this morning at Auckland and Christchurch airport there are public health staff meeting people coming off flights from China".
ABC NEWS reported at least 80 people have died from the virus so far.
"We haven’t yet had a case," Dr Bloomfied said. "However, our assessment is the likelihood of us getting a case is high."
"It may well be, as with Australia with their first case, the person who was subsequently diagnosed had in fact travelled and was asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) when they came into the country and developed symptoms a few days later.
"We may well find ourselves in a similar situation."
He said the likelihood of transmitting the virus in New Zealand was "low to moderate because we are prepared and ready".
The likelihood of a sustained community outbreak remained low.
Dr Bloomfied said the World Health Organisation were advising against travel or trades restrictions on China based on current information.
This morning, National criticised the New Zealand Government’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, calling it a "weak response".
Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning the Government "really should've acted earlier in putting in place border screening”, but added that “even that isn’t enough, in my view".
Health Minister David Clark said while health officials have been briefed since January 6, international health experts say the best way to contain the spread of the virus is to hand out public health information in airports for people who may be asymptomatic.
"That's been happening for a wee while... That's the best way of containing any virus that would arrive in New Zealand."