Coronavirus scare: Sick passenger halts disembarking flight at Auckland Airport

The Ministry of Health removed a sick passenger from a flight after they landed at Auckland Airport on Sunday feeling unwell.

Emirates flight EK488 from Dubai was forced to wait on the tarmac while the "ill traveller protocol" was triggered, an Auckland Airport spokesperson confirmed.

Auckland Airport works with the Auckland Regional Public Health Service to follow the ill traveller protocol, which assesses symptomatic travellers to determine the likelihood of infection.

"This protocol is a well-established multi-agency process to effectively monitor, assess and manage ill travellers arriving on planes and ships into New Zealand," the spokesperson said in a statement.

The sick passenger is now with Ministry of Health officials.

A passenger on the Emirates flight told Newshub as there were some sick people on the plane they "froze disembarking".

"We were very worried things would have changed and [we were being] sent to quarantine and apparently we're free," they said.

New self-isolation requirements

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Saturday that every person entering New Zealand from 1am on March 16 will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The measure is the strictest in the world, she says. All restrictions will be reviewed in 15 days.

"We expect for New Zealanders currently overseas this is a stressful time. We encourage any New Zealander needing consular assistance to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

A directive was also issued telling cruise ships not to enter New Zealand until at least June 30. This does not apply to cargo ships.

Other essential flights will be allowed into New Zealand, for example, if they are bringing pharmaceuticals. The Prime Minister said people should not worry about supermarkets running out of products, as freight will be allowed into the country.

"This is about restricting the movement of people, not products. We will continue to have imports come into New Zealand," Ardern said.

Those coming from the Pacific are excluded from the travel measures. They will be the only people excluded.

Ardern said New Zealand has a responsibility to look after the Pacific Islands.

"As such, strict new border exit measures for people travelling to the Pacific will be put in place," she said.

"These include: No travel for people who have travelled outside of New Zealand in the past 14 days. No travel for close or casual contacts of a confirmed case. No travel for anyone who is symptomatic, and health assessments, including temperature checks."

Some have questioned whether Australia was part of the Pacific Islands exemption. However, Air New Zealand chief revenue officer Cam Wallace has said the restrictions do apply to our neighbour across the Tasman.