Coronavirus: Doctors urge people not to show up to clinics unannounced if they show COVID-19 symptoms

Doctors are urging people not to panic as GPs experience a surge in patients turning up worried about the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Newshub was filming at one GP clinic on Wednesday when three people turned up and needed to be swabbed - but others were there too when they didn't need to be. 

Dr Mansour Janan is a GP at Dannemora Clinic in east Auckland, and was dressed from head-to-toe in protective gear while swabbing patients in the carpark.

"According to what they told me, yes they have symptoms. But I didn't ask what sort of symptoms. We didn't check their temperature," she told Newshub.

Dr Janan makes decisions on who needs a swab and who doesn't by seeing if they fit certain criteria. If they do fit it, a test is taken.

Clinical director of East Tamaki Health Dr Richard Hulme told Newshub three families had turned up to the clinic on Wednesday who believed they are symptomatic and concerned they might have COVID-19.

Dr Hulme says people should call Healthline first, then report to their GP only if they're advised to.

"We don't want to inundate general practice services with people who are the 'worried well'."

He says unannounced visits from people who suspect they have it are a problem since they put other patients at risk and pressure on staff.

Doctors say far too many people worried about COVID-19 are turning up at clinics and walking in without stopping and thinking.

"In the panic, they're presenting to the clinic without any prior warning," Dr Hulme says.

Carpark medicine is new for this team, and it's time-consuming. And their plea to visitors is to be mindful of others.