Coronavirus: Infected man shared chalice during Auckland church service

One of eight Kiwis confirmed to have coronavirus shared a communion chalice at an Auckland church before testing positive, it has been revealed.

The man in his 60s was the sixth person to be infected with COVID-19. 

The Ministry of Health on Saturday said he arrived in the country from the US on March 6. He was well after arriving but became sick during the week.

He was tested on Thursday and confirmed to have the illness on Friday.

After arriving in New Zealand, he attended a church service at St Mary's church in Papakura on March 8. 

Although health officials said he was not showing any symptoms at the time of the service and the "vast majority" of other churchgoers were being treated as casual contacts, the parish's priest has now revealed the man shared a chalice with a number of people.

Father Peter Murphy told Stuff that five people had shared the chalice with the man. All of them had gone into isolation after finding out about his positive test, he said.

Father Murphy said hand sanitiser was used during the service and that people would not have sipped from the same part of the chalice. 

"We always turn the cup so you're not drinking from the same place."

According to the Ministry of Health, the man - who remains anonymous - "did everything right", phoning his doctor as soon as he started showing symptoms and informing officials of his travel history.

The man told Stuff over the weekend that he has now completely recovered from the illness and was feeling "100 percent".