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Effect on business due to coronavirus

Markets traded cautiously overnight as authorities in China sought to contain the coronavirus outbreak by restricting travel to and from Wuhan.

European shares fell, crude oil slumped and bonds rallied as investors considered the potential for an epidemic to weigh on global growth.

All public transport to, from and within the central Chinese city of Wuhan, is now suspended.

Authorities have urged citizens to avoid travelling unless they have "special reasons". While the rapid and sweeping response is welcomed, the longer incubation period of the virus means escalation risks are higher. Another point of concern is that more than three billion journeys within China are planned for the coming New Year celebrations.

National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse is calling the Government to proactive steps to ensure the coronavirus outbreak does not spread to New Zealand.

"New viruses can rapidly spread across a population and take hold before symptoms become apparent. The prudent response would be to provide information to passengers arriving from affected countries and to screen visitors for early symptoms.

"Given Chinese New Year celebrations are nearly upon us, large numbers of expected international visitors, combined with large gatherings, increases the risk of the virus arriving in New Zealand and spreading."

National is calling on the Government to make the coronavirus a specific notifiable disease, ask health questions on arrival about travel history and any symptoms for those who have travelled from affected areas and increase health surveillance at international airports with appropriate equipment and staff and ensure all DHBs have outbreak protocols in place and sufficient protective equipment on hand.

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