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.
There are no confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in New Zealand to date but the likelihood of importing a case is high. The risk of an ongoing outbreak in New Zealand remains low, but the Ministry of Health is monitoring the situation closely. If any public health measures are needed for this virus, we will advise.
The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend border screening for 2019-nCoV, and there are currently no travel restrictions at the New Zealand border related to this outbreak. As it is currently winter in Wuhan, respiratory illnesses (such as colds and influenza) are expected among those leaving the region.
As this is a new virus, there is currently no vaccine available.
The virus can can be spread through person-to-person contact. The number of confirmed cases has grown, due in part to increased surveillance and testing.
Signs and symptoms
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 is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.
WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers but is continuing to review the situation.
WHO advises people follow the basic principles to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infection. These are:
- avoid close contact with people suffering acute respiratory infections
- wash hands frequently, especially after contact with ill people or their environment
- avoid close contact with sick farm animals or wild animals
- people with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette:
- maintain distance
- cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing
- wash hands.
As always, travellers who become sick within a month of their arrival are encouraged to seek medical advice and contact Healthline (for free) 0800 611 116 or our nurses here at CityMed. It is important to mention recent travel to Wuhan and any known contact with someone with severe acute respiratory illness who has been in Wuhan. Please do not come in to the clinic without having one of our nurses call to discuss your symptoms first.