Coronavirus: Health workers assaulted by people wanting to be tested for COVID-19

Health care workers have been verbally and physically assaulted by patients wanting to get swabbed for the COVID-19 ahead of the lockdown. 

Violence at swabbing stations has already resulted in calls to police. Some have become frustrated because after waiting for a swab for COVID-19, they've been told to go home without one.

That's because people can only get a swab if they meet the Ministry of Health's criteria - which is that you have symptoms, have been overseas, or had contact with a possible case. 

One case of violence included a security guard being punched at a site in Mangere.

"Not everyone can be seen," said Tamaki Health urgent care director Dr Alistair Sullivan. "That's caused some confusion and frustration. It's caused a few security issues."

The message is to keep calm. 

"We won't tolerate any physical or verbal abuse of our staff," Dr Sullivan said.

Meanwhile, police say there'll be no hesitation to lock people up if they're found to be blatantly ignoring the lockdown.

And if required, the military can be called on for help.

"We have the back-up of the army if we need it," Police Association President Chris Cahill said.

The public can notify police of breaches by calling the non-emergency number 105. But there's a warning - don't go overboard. 

"One or two people out exercising is probably not a breach," Cahill told Newshub. "Twenty people on a beach clearly probably is."

Police will take action to protect its staff as well -  looking to commandeer hotels in the event officers get unwell.

And it's sickness in the wider community they're trying to avoid

"Each of you has a role to save a person's life," said Civil Defence emergency management director Sarah Stuart-Black.