Coronavirus

New Zealand 'has responsibility to protect Pacific from coronavirus'

The death toll from the coronavirus sweeping through China has increased to 17 to six and more than 500 people are confirmed to have the illness, which began in Wuhan.

Health authorities say the current risk to New Zealand is low.

But Otago University's Michael Baker says the virus has already spread to several other countries, and monitoring and preparation has to be stepped up. 

He says the recent spread of the measles to the Pacific highlights the obligation New Zealand has to the region.

Warning against cover-up as number of China virus cases jumps

Anyone who concealed new cases would "be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity", the political body responsible for law and order said.

The warning came as state media said six people had now died from the virus, which causes a type of pneumonia.

It's been confirmed the virus can pass from person to person.