Coronavirus: Australian man diagnosed with COVID-19 in Wellington speaks out

The Australian man confirmed to have the COVID-19 coronavirus after he arrived in Wellington has spoken out.

Andre Reynaud and his wife Jane, from Townsville in Queensland, released a joint statement on the Ann Roberts School of Dance Facebook page, a company which they own.

They want "to establish the facts" around his diagnosis and defend their friends and staff who have reportedly received abuse.

They say some staff at the dance studio and some friends have been "vilely" attacked on social media for defending them.

"They have done nothing but the best they can for all, and it is absolutely heartbreaking that they are being targeted. They are blameless," they say.

Andre and Jane also outlined their version of events surrounding his diagnosis.

"The greatest risks for most people in this pandemic are panic and misinformation. We are living the reality and will come through."

They say they had both planned a trip to New Zealand to visit their son who works here, but Andre was called to France on March 6 to attend the funeral of a close family member. He later returned to Townsville on March 12 to meet up with Jane so they could travel to New Zealand the following day.

While Andre was away, he had read advice from health authorities saying it was possible to voluntarily report for COVID-19 testing which he did "almost immediately".

"Given that he was completely asymptomatic he had no expectation that the result would be positive," they say.

"On the morning of Friday 13th March there was no advice from authorities recommending self-isolation after overseas travel or mandatory testing for Covid19, so feeling fit and well, we continued on to Wellington as planned."

Soon after they arrived in Wellington, Andre heard he had tested positive for the virus and the pair "immediately" returned to their hotel to quarantine themselves. They also contacted local health authorities.

"Our decision to travel to New Zealand was made with the best of intentions and with the best information available in Australia or New Zealand before we departed. Travel restrictions and mandatory isolation only came into effect in either country at midnight on Sunday 15th March.

"Had these restrictions been in place or had Andre had any idea that he was carrying the disease, despite feeling fit and well, we would not have travelled."

They're both self-isolating in Wellington and neither have shown any symptoms of the virus.

Andre reportedly had close contact with four people while he was in Townsville after returning from France - Jane, their daughter Isabelle and two staff members. Queensland Health has since advised them that these people aren't contagious following their contact with Andre, but they've been placed in self-isolation as a precaution.

The pair maintain that they came to New Zealand with the best of intentions, and if Andre hadn't volunteered for testing they wouldn't even know he had the virus.

"Him taking extra care has reduced the risk of community transmission despite the unwanted attention and abuse it has brought us and our staff."

"We cannot adequately express our sadness and regret for the concern this has caused. With the benefit of hindsight we would be quarantined in Townsville instead of being far away from family and friends."

They have now temporarily suspended classes at their dance studio while they and their staff complete their two-week self-isolation.

Andre and a Danish traveller to New Zealand are the seventh and eighth confirmed cases in the country.