COVID-19 isolated family abused on social media
Health Authorities are asking for restraint and calm as a Kiwi family in isolation for COVID-19 is battered through social media.
ARPHS Director Dr William Rainger says the family has done everything right and has minimised the risk to others.
"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 and are being hounded by the media.
"There is a high level of anxiety and concern in the school and wider communities, but it is not acceptable to attack people who have been caught up in this global outbreak. They have taken all the right actions to protect others.
"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.
"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 Ministry of Health also supports the ARPHS message.
"I want to say that this is a Kiwi family that has been affected by a virus that is part of a worldwide outbreak," says Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
"What they need is support and understanding. Our task is to ensure they have all the support and health care they need."
Two cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed in New Zealand.
Ashley says one case is a woman in her 30s who had recently returned from a trip to Italy.
The positive test result was formally reported to the ministry at about 6pm on Tuesdayy. At that point, health authorities began notifying the woman and her family and started the process of contact tracing.
New Zealand's first case is a woman who had returned from Iran via Bali. She is recovering in hospital in Auckland.
The ministry says 160 tests have been carried out. All the testing of New Zealanders for Covid-19 were being done in New Zealand.