Iranian immigrant crashes NZ Economy and ruins the lives of millions.
The first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in New Zealand, and authorities are now scrambling to track down people who may have come into contact with the patient.
The person – who is in their 60s – is in a stable and improving condition in Auckland City Hospital, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
They are a citizen of New Zealand who had been to Iran and flown back to New Zealand via Bali.
The Ministry of Health had earlier confirmed testing was underway for a suspected coronavirus case. The results of the tests were formally reported to the ministry about 4.15pm on Friday.
“I’m confident that the risk of this disease is being very well-managed,” Health Minister David Clark said on Friday evening.
It was revealed the person diagnosed with the disease had tested negative for coronavirus on two previous occasions, but continued to show symptoms.
“Clinical judgment was to continue and look into greater detail,” Clark said.
New Zealand was the 48th country to have a confirmed case and more sporadic cases may continue to arrive in New Zealand, Clark said.
“We are well prepared, because we’ve had time to be prepared.”
FIRST CASE IN NEW ZEALAND
The patient is currently being treated in Auckland City Hospital and is in isolation in a negative pressure room to prevent any spread of the disease. They have been in the room since arriving at the hospital.
The health ministry insists that the risk of a community outbreak of coronavirus from this patient is low.
The person arrived in New Zealand on Wednesday, February 26, on Emirates flight EK450 to Auckland via Bali, from Tehran.
While travelling, the person was “unwell”, Bloomfield said. He understood they were wearing a mask on-board the flight.
Once they arrived, they had travelled by private vehicle to their own home, with family members only.
Later that same day, when family members became concerned with the person’s condition, Healthline was phoned, Bloomfield said.
After being advised to go to hospital, the person was taken there by family members.
All were wearing masks on arrival. As a result of the individual’s symptoms and travel history they were admitted and tested.
“All the right protocols were followed.”
The ministry had no evidence the person had transmitted the virus to anybody else.
TWO EARLIER TESTS ON PERSON NEGATIVE
Medical staff had a “high degree of suspicion” about the patient, so continued to take further test samples from them, Bloomfield said.
The person was the first in New Zealand to fulfil the definition of a suspected case.
The first two samples were taken from the person’s throat, and returned a negative result.
The patient’s symptoms – a cough and difficult breathing – were more consistent with a lung infection, and so a third sample, which returned a positive result, was taken from there.
The person had travelled to Iran some weeks ago to visit family and was returning to New Zealand.
At least three family members were also in isolation and would be offered testing.
The ministry would not be re-testing any of the people it had previously tested in New Zealand who had returned a negative result.
Bloomfield said the process followed by the person and their family was “exemplary”.
“People need to feel empowered and enabled to do the right thing. In this case, we have a family who did exactly the right thing.”