Coronavirus: Middlemore Hospital, Manukau SuperClinic tighten visitor rules in bid to keep COVID-19 out

Auckland's Middlemore Hospital has moved to limit its number of visitors in a bid to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Counties Manukau Health made the announcement on Friday, saying the new rules would apply to all of its health facilities, including Manukau SuperClinic and outpatient facilities in the area.

Twenty-eight cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the country so far, though as of yet there is no evidence of community transmission.

"This is an unprecedented event with the effects being felt worldwide, including here in Aotearoa New Zealand," said Dr Peter Watson, Counties Manukau Health medical officer.

Under the new rules, only two visitors per patient would be allowed, including a support person such as a parent or partner, said Dr Watson.

Children aged under 15 would not be allowed to visit, and all visitors were required to be in good health.

"To protect our patients and staff, this is an absolute priority, even more so as the number of cases climbs. This is so we can provide care."

Anyone visiting health facilities would now be screened before they come in, Dr Watson said.

Doctors around the country are urging anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 not to show up to clinics unannounced. 

Instead they should call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

So far more than there have been more than 236,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world and over 9700 deaths.