Kiwi coronavirus patient's family subjected to 'sustained and abusive' cyberbullying

The Kiwi family in isolation after one tested positive for coronavirus are being "battered" on social media and the focus of "sustained and abusive bullying".

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is begging the public to exercise restraint and calm as the 30-year-old woman and her family remain in isolation.

ARPHS director Dr William Rainger says the family has done nothing wrong.

"The woman with the virus has gone straight into isolation with her family when she was told she was suspected of having COVID-19."

"Yet they have become the focus of sustained and abusive bullying on social media," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Dr Rainger said he understands the fear surrounding the virus but the behaviour is unacceptable.

"As a public health service, we are worried that such attacks will lead people to hide any illness that might be COVID-19, and not seek medical attention."

The abuse could hinder health officials containing the virus, says Dr Rainger. 

"We will not be able to contain this spread of this illness, if the public response is so hostile towards cases and their families."

The woman was diagnosed on Tuesday evening after she and her partner travelled back from northern Italy.

She does not require hospital care. Her partner is also showing symptoms and the results of his test are expected back on Wednesday evening.

The infected woman has members of her family who attend Westlake Boys and Westlake Girls High in Auckland, and both of the schools have been contacted and are on alert.

The children who attend those two schools are not showing symptoms, however, and are now at home and in isolation. They did not travel to Italy, are both well and are being monitored.