Coronavirus: Kiwi business leaders urge 'aggressive' solution from NZ Government

A group of New Zealand business and community leaders is urging the Government to make urgent and drastic changes to its current coronavirus action plan.

In a document sent to media, the group - led by New Zealand entrepreneur of the year Nick Mowbray - says schools must shut and borders immediately close to non-residents in a bid to restrict the spread of COVID-19.

It also says the Government should educate the public on the need for social-distancing and hygiene, introduce mandatory health screening at airports, and invest heavily in masks, sanitiser and thermal guns.

While New Zealand has some of the toughest restrictions in the world, the group says they remain "extremely concerned" that the Government's efforts to stymie the rise of coronavirus don't go far enough.

It says it's very likely New Zealand has more than the eight confirmed cases that have so far been reported, due to minimal health testing, the symptom-free nature of many cases, and the disease's lengthy incubation period of 14 days.

"New Zealand has had a very fortunate advantage in this pandemic: we are seeing the virus later than most of the world, and we are geographically isolated," the document reads.

"We can also see what has happened elsewhere and learn from it. But we must not squander these advantages: we need further and fast action immediately."

The document echoes the words of White House medical advisor Dr Anthony Fauci, who on Sunday (US time) urged President Donald Trump to be "overly aggressive and get criticised for over-reacting" in his response to COVID-19.

The group acknowledges the changes it wants made to New Zealand's coronavirus action plan would have dramatic economic and social repercussions - however it says it will be worth it if it means keeping coronavirus at bay.

"They at the least give New Zealanders a good chance of consolidating its (currently) fortunate position in fighting COVID-19," the document reads.

"From that position of strength, in coming weeks and months, we can hopefully revert to our normal daily lives."