Expert weighs in on why coronavirus outbreak is likely

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 2 Mar 2020, 2:53PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Expert weighs in on why coronavirus outbreak is likely

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 2 Mar 2020, 2:53PM

An expert says a Covid-19 outbreak in New Zealand isn't inevitable but it is likely.

New Zealand's first confirmed patient, a person in their 60s, is improving in isolation at Auckland City Hospital.

Health officials say the risk to the public remains low.

But Otago University infectious diseases expert David Murdoch told Chris Lynch New Zealand is likely to have more cases.

"Just seeing how quickly it's been able to spread within China, and I think we are seeing it crop up with cases that apparently didn't have any obvious contact with China."

He says that New Zealand should be preparing for those cases to arrive, thinking about how to manage healthcare workers, how to manage people coming to hospital, and what sort of activities will happen in the community.

The disease has been found in 60 countries, prompting the cancellation of major events, travel bans, and stock market worries. 

Murdoch says that the global spread isn't surprising.

"It is what we anticipated. Now I think we're seeing it spreading to a quite a number of cases.

"I think it is tracking along the lines of what many of us anticipated."