New details released around first New Zealand coronavirus case

New details have been released around New Zealand's first case of coronavirus, including their symptoms, testing and a message that passengers sitting nearby on the same flight are set to be contacted by health workers. 

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The person’s symptoms were a cough and difficulty breathing, according to the Ministry of Health. Source: 1 NEWS

It was announced today a person in their 60s was confirmed to have coronavirus. They had been in Iran and were returning to New Zealand this week. 

Health Minister David Clark said he was confident the risk of coronavirus case was being "very well managed". 

He said the person was actually a citizen of New Zealand, rather than a permanent resident as was earlier reported. 

First case of coronavirus confirmed in New Zealand

"The person is in a condition that is improving."

Their symptoms were a cough and difficulty breathing after flying in from a flight from Bali this week after visiting Iran. They wore a face mask during the flight. 

Dr Clark said they "followed all of the steps that you would hope that would be followed". 

What you need to know if you have to self-isolate amid coronavirus outbreak

The Government announced a travel ban from Iran at 3.21pm today, at 4.15pm they were formally informed of the confirmed virus case. 

The public heath service would be contacting some people who were on the same flight and sitting near the person to self isolate for 14 days.

The person flew into Auckland on February 26 from Bali. 

Were you on Emirates flight EK450 that arrived in Auckland on February 26? Email

An emirates spokesperson said in a statement the airline is cooperating with authorities.

"All our aircraft are thoroughly cleaned before every flight and as part of our standard protocols, we will also implement enhanced cleaning procedures on any aircraft on which there have been suspect or confirmed cases of infectious diseases.

"Our crew are trained to handle various medical incidents onboard and since the COVID-19 outbreak began, we have been providing our crew community with regular updates on how to stay safe while on duty and what to do should they feel unwell."

Anyone who was concerned and on the final leg of flight Emirates EK450 arriving Auckland on Wednesday February 26, have been asked to call the Healthline number 0800 358 5453.

The person tested negative for coronavirus twice on two occasions. Further samples were taken that proved positive, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.

"The patient's samples were much more suggestive of a lung infection, so a sample was taken that then did test positive," after two earlier throat samples were taken. 

He said the situation in Iran "evolved very rapidly". They begun looking at adding Iran to the list of travel restricted countries earlier this week. 

"We're not certain all the information we are getting is fully describing the situation there in Iran."

New Zealanders who have returned from Iran in the last 14 days are being told to self isolate and register with Healthline. 

New Zealand is the 48th country to have a case of coronavirus.

Dr Clark said the timing of the case in New Zealand had "brought us time, its meant we have a better understanding of the virus". 

"The assessment of health professionals are that sporadic cases will continue to arrive in New Zealand."