Coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern reveals people 'will be arrested' for deliberately coughing on others

People who purposefully spit or cough on others because they think it's funny "will be arrested", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed.

She made her comments during the daily Ministry of Health COVID-19 update when she was asked what her advice was for people who think it's funny to spit or cough on others.

"That it's not funny and you will be arrested," she said.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield agreed with Ardern, saying "it's completely out of order".

Earlier in Sunday's press conference, Ardern labelled the Christchurch man who was arrested for deliberately coughing and sneezing at supermarket shoppers "an idiot".

The 38-year-old was arrested after sharing a since-deleted Facebook video in which he coughed and sneezed on shoppers at Fresh Choice supermarket in Barrington.

"While compliance has been generally strong, there are still some I would charitably describe as idiots," she told reporters.

"A 38-year-old man, arrested last night after being seen on a video online coughing at people in a supermarket, I include in that description."

A spokesperson for Fresh Choice told Stuff the man has apologised and claimed the video was a "drunken prank". 

"Fresh Choice Barrington has put a number of extra steps in place over and above the norm to ensure the store is clean and safe for people to shop and work in," they said.

"We would strongly discourage any customers from doing anything like this in any supermarket. The police have been very clear that it's irresponsible and unacceptable behaviour."