'Unnecessary distress' - Queenstown hotel hits out at false coronavirus report

False rumours that a Queenstown hotel guest was diagnosed with what would have been New Zealand's first case of coronavirus have caused "unnecessary distress", the hotel said today in a pointed social media post.  

The rumours "simply are not true", the Rees Hotel said, mirroring statements today from Government officials. 

"Within the past twenty-four hours some media have stated an 'unconfirmed report' of a person staying at The Rees Hotel with coronavirus," the hotel's Facebook post read. 

The rumour, Rees Hotel management said, was sparked by a "false Facebook message posted by a third-party supplier, unrelated to the hotel".

"This post on social media has since been removed. The facts are The Rees Hotel has not hosted any guest with suspected coronavirus, nor received notification from any state agency and is an innocent party.

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The hotel at the centre of the rumours has posted online that the reports are unfounded. Source: 1 NEWS

"The Rees Hotel is deeply concerned that the impact of this false information has caused unnecessary distress to many innocent parties including guests in-house, the local community and the tourism industry as a whole."

Southern District Health Board chief medical officer Dr Nigel Millar confirmed to 1 NEWS today that there are currently no cases of the virus in the Southern DHB area.

"Southern DHB is not actively investigating any suspected cases," he said. 

The hotel at the centre of rumours earlier posted online that the reports were unfounded.

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Jim Boult spoke to TVNZ1’s Breakfast after reports of a possible outbreak in the tourist town. Source: Breakfast

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning that the coronavirus outbreak was developing, so it was not to say it won't reach New Zealand, but he too confirmed this morning's rumours as untrue.

"This is a time for calm heads. If there is somebody here with the virus, well so be it, that's what it is - that's not a good thing but we'll deal with it. 

"But this is an issue that's in front of us and the last thing we want is people running around repeating unconfirmed rumours and frankly panicking."

He also said xenophobic content online "doesn't have a place in this".

A spokesperson from Health Minister David Clark's office earlier told 1 NEWS rumours of a person with the virus at the popular tourist town were being followed up by health authorities.