In January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed a new type of coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV. The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation and following guidance from the World Health Organization. The likelihood of an imported case in New Zealand is high, however the likelihood of a widespread outbreaks remains low.

What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV?

Symptoms of 2019-nCoV are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have 2019-nCoV. Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing can be a sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention. We don’t yet know how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected, but current WHO assessments suggest that it is 2-10 days.

Health advice

The Ministry is taking this evolving situation seriously and is working closely with other Government agencies, DHBs and emergency management teams throughout New Zealand, and with Australia.

The World Health Organization does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers but is continuing to review the situation.

Everybody should follow the basic principles of hygiene and cough etiquette to reduce the risk of getting an acute respiratory infection or passing it onto others. This includes:

  • regularly washing hands (for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap and dry thoroughly)
  • covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze
  • staying home if you are sick
  • avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • if you feel unwell you should avoid public gatherings and events.

People who have recently been to Wuhan or Hubei province, or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with the virus, are at risk of contracting 2019-nCoV. If this applies to you, consider self-isolating for 14 days.

What do I do if I am sick right now?

If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing please telephone Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116.

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