Several people in isolation after being evacuated from Wuhan have tested negative for coronavirus after exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
The returnees undergo daily medical checks, and no-one was showing any symptoms of the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) as of Thursday, a Ministry of Health spokeswoman said.
However, if during the checks people showed signs of flu-like illness, swabs were taken and sent away for testing as a precaution. So far “several” had been tested and all had been cleared, she said.
There were no current swabs waiting for results, the Ministry spokeswoman said on Thursday.
There have been no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in New Zealand to date, but health officials said the likelihood of importing a case was high.
Two New Zealanders tested positive for coronavirus while on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.
Meanwhile, the number of cases worldwide continues to climb.
Almost 45,000 people had contracted the virus, which first surfaced in China in late December. At least 1100 people in China had died of the illness so far.
Coronaviruses were very common viruses which infected a wide range of animals – including humans – and could cause mild to severe disease, ranging from colds to severe pneumonia.
Like the flu, COVID-19 could be transmitted from person to person, spread through droplets.
Droplet-spread diseases could be spread by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, or contact with an object or surface with viral particles on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
Those in quarantine at Whangaparāoa were now more than halfway through the 14-day isolation period.
If anyone tested positive for the illness they would be isolated for a further 10 days, health officials said earlier.