A person who has recently travelled to Iran has become the first confirmed case of coronavirus in New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the news speaking to media in Sydney today.
The person is aged in their 60s and arrived in New Zealand on Wednesday on Emirates flight EK450 from Tehran, via Bali.
“The person arrived in Auckland on 26 February and travelled home in a private car,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Health said.
“Their family became concerned about their condition and called Healthline.
“They were advised to seek medical attention and attended Auckland City Hospital emergency department that same day. All were wearing masks on arrival. As a result of the individual’s symptoms and travel history they were admitted and tested.”
The results of the test were confirmed at 4.15pm today and makes New Zealand the 48th country to have a confirmed case of the virus.
The ministry said the patient was being treated in Auckland City Hospital in an improving condition in isolation.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the person arrived this week from Iran, where the virus had been rapidly spreading.
He earlier said five people were being tested for the virus in New Zealand, but only this person fit the definition of a suspected case.
He said 130 tests for Covid-19 had been done this month, all of them negative except this one.
The chances of community outbreak remained low, the ministry said, and public risk from the new infection was being well managed because of the public messaging, awareness of Covid-19 and public health response to managing cases and contacts.
“They are in an improving condition in isolation, in a negative pressure room to prevent any spread of the disease,” the spokesman said.
The confirmation followed a statement earlier this afternoon by the Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield that tests were being carried out on the person in Auckland City Hospital.
Ireland and the Netherlands have also announced the first cases of the deadly virus in the past 24 hours.
Health Minister David Clark today announced a raft of new measures to combat the spread of coronavirus, including new travel restrictions from Iran.
The Government will also be bolstering the health presence at international airports and there will be no exemptions for overseas students from China to enter New Zealand, said Clark.
So far, the Government has conducted 130 Coronavirus tests in New Zealand – they have all come back negative.