Stay away: Doctors' warning to Kiwis who might have coronavirus

New Zealand doctors are asking people to stay away from GP clinics if they feel they might have coronavirus or any symptoms which could be linked to the virus.

The Medical Association says many clinics are already at capacity and we're approaching flu season.

And doctors warn general practices around the country risk being overwhelmed if coronavirus takes hold here.

Warkworth doctor and Medical Association chair Dr Kate Baddock says general practice is at a crisis point.

"General practice currently is chronically underfunded and overstretched," she says.

GPs are experiencing people who've come from coronavirus-infected countries turning up with fevers and flu-like symptoms.

She says the Health Ministry needs to remove the reference from its website about getting in touch with your doctor if you have symptoms.

"They should not come to the surgery. They should contact the Healthline," she says.

Some doctors have raised concerns online about the imminent threat of coronavirus here.

"Given the chronic underfunding of primary care and how we've been completely unsupported through the measles outbreak, general practice has no current capacity to provide care for coronavirus patients," one wrote.

"The best thing would be a very rapid introduction of separate streams for flu-like illnesses away from our normal practice," another wrote.

Others wrote the handling of the situation was "very unreassuring" - and "our leadership are asleep at the wheel".

There's also concern doctors' clinics are lacking full protective equipment.

"The question is should the DHB be funding these? The answer is yes. Because without them, everybody is at risk," Dr Baddock says.

The Health Ministry responded, saying it's aware there's some concern out there around the supply levels.

"We're working with DHBs and PHOs to ensure the supply of personal protective equipment to general practice."

The Health Ministry says it remains "highly likely" New Zealand will get a case of the virus.