One person in Auckland 'fits criteria for suspected case' of coronavirus

One person in Auckland now "fits the criteria" for a suspected case of coronavirus.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announced on Friday the person is being tested and is in isolation in Auckland Hospital. 

"This is the first person who has been investigated who meets the definition of the suspected case criteria," he told media. 

He declined to comment further.  

Testing for the virus is now available in New Zealand, and Bloomfield said results would be available by Saturday.

Around five cases have been checked in New Zealand since the virus broke out in December, but no one had previously met the definition of a suspected or confirmed case.

Coronavirus broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. Since then, there have been 213 deaths in China and more than 9000 confirmed cases.

Fifty-three New Zealand citizens are currently trapped in Wuhan, with plans being made to evacuate them from the epicentre of the disease.

The logistics of evacuating the Kiwi citizens in Wuhan is "an awful lot of work," said Bloomfield.

"There are a lot of moving parts which have to be considered. We need to make sure everything is in place before the flight can go ahead. 

Bloomfield says anyone who was sick and unable to fly would remain in Wuhan. 

"If they are unwell and they are infectious then it's appropriate they would receive medical treatment there, and that's what would happen," he said.