Coronavirus: RSA to hold crisis meetings over Anzac Day services

New Zealand's Anzac Day services may be cancelled amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Returned and Services' Association (RSA) will hold a crisis meeting on Wednesday after New Zealand's eighth case of COVID-19 was confirmed over the weekend.

RSA National President BJ Clark said Australia's decision to cancel the majority of its public remembrance services comes at no surprise.

"Given the demographic of the people attending the services, particularly the elderly and young people... Australia has obviously looked at the situation and made the decision," Clark told Newshub.

"We're listening to the experts and the Government. We are meeting via Skype tomorrow at 1pm - the Board, the National President and two Vice Presidents. We'll be discussing all the information that has been put forward and convey the decision to RSAs across the country."

Clark says while "large crowd scenarios" may no longer be possible, it's important that New Zealanders still acknowledge the occasion.

"It's very important we still acknowledge Anzac Day, the service, the commitment and the remembrance of those who have served our nation in the past. While the large crowd scenario may no longer be possible, it's important that a remembrance activity is still carried out around the country," he advised.

The RSA is also concerned that COVID-19 may impact its annual poppy appeal, in which donations are used to support both current and ex-servicemen and women. 

"There are fewer people [in public]... some people we rely on to collect may be nervous to go out on the streets. It will have a significant impact on our collection and our ability to support the veterans in the way that we have."

COVID-19 has caused the cancellation of Anzac Day services across Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia. A selection of dawn services will still be held nationwide, but the public is prohibited from attending.