Jacinda Ardern explains why Kiwis should not avoid public events amid coronavirus COVID-19

Jacinda Ardern does not want Kiwis to avoid public gatherings amid the COVID-19 outbreak despite asking officials for advice on two events this weekend. 

The Prime Minister said on Tuesday morning she had sought advice from health officials about whether it is safe to go ahead with the Pasifika Festival and the Christchurch terror attack memorial on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. 

By Tuesday afternoon, the Prime Minister said she was expecting to receive the advice from officials "later this afternoon" and that she would share the outcome when she has it. 

But the Prime Minister said she did not want the public to be concerned or avoid public gatherings needlessly, because at this stage "we do not have a community outbreak". 

"When you get to a wider outbreak, that's when you start seeing changes to things like community events, and so I see that as unlikely, but I did want to ask the question and just get that advice and assurance from our public health team."

The Pasifika Festival is happening at Auckland's Western Springs on Saturday while a memorial for the March 15 Christchurch terror attack is happening on Sunday at Hagley Park. 

Ardern acknowledged that there is a sense of nervousness among Kiwi communities, but she reiterated that New Zealand still only has five confirmed cases of the coronavirus and that there is no need for panic. 

By comparison, Italy - the entire country of which is in lockdown - has recorded more than 9000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 400 deaths. 

"The most important thing for us to do right now is continue to demonstrate that every decision we are making is based on the best health advice possible and all of the international research and evidence," Ardern said. 

"That is the basis of our public health response... taking a cautious approach which has assisted us with the containment we've seen in New Zealand."

Ardern confirmed on Monday that Cabinet agreed to extend the travel ban on China and Iran and requirements for travellers from South Korea and northern Italy to self-isolate upon arrival in New Zealand for 14 days.  

Cabinet also agreed to quarantine measures that mean medical health officers have powers under the Health Act 1956 to quarantine cruise ships and aircraft coming to New Zealand if it's believed passengers have COVID-19. 

 "We've got five confirmed cases and we've managed to track all of the individuals who've been in contact with those cases, and so we are still very much in that containment phase," Ardern said. 

"We have an excellent public health system and I want to reassure the public that every step we are taking is based on the best evidence possible."

The Ministry of Health confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that while there are no additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, there are two probable cases. 

"Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority," Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said. 

"It's good the key public health measures of strict border controls, self-isolation for people who have come from overseas hot-spots or been in contact with local cases have had the desired impact so far.

"Now is the time to be even more vigilant. Everyone can help by ensuring good health etiquette - washing hands for 20 seconds, sneezing into your arm and not touching your face. 

"Fundamental to this is not putting yourself or others at risk if you are unwell - not going to work or being out in public if you are sick... All of us have a role to play in stopping further spread."

The Ministry of Health has recorded 281 negative cases and there are currently 47 cases classified as under investigation.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 4000 people across the globe had died from COVID-19 and more than 114,000 cases had been confirmed.