Scott Morrison's Phone Call Interrupted Jacinda Ardern's Press Conference

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has laughed off having to reject a phone call from Scott Morrison, when he rang through in the middle of a press conference she was holding.

Ardern convened a media conference on Tuesday to announce the country's general election date, when she was asked about NZ's response to the coronavirus outbreak.

When asked by a reporter whether New Zealand would "tag on" in the event of an Australian-led mission to evacuate nationals caught up in the event in China, Ardern  looked down at her lectern and smiled.

"That's the PM Morrison dialing in as we speak," she said, gesturing to her phone before continuing with her response.

Jacinda Ardern looks down at her lecturn, as her phone buzzes. She says, it's "PM Morrison". Image: TVNZ

“Without wanting to get ahead of the logistics here, obviously, this is the kind of area where you would --" she began, before a reporter asked what she would be talking about with Morrison.

"Well, we are in close contact over the situation -- just the work we are doing on the ground, the situation of our citizens and residents and making sure we are keeping up those conversations and working together," Ardern continued.

"So that’s exactly what you’d expect and that’s what we’re doing." 

Kiwi journalists reported Ardern did not take the call during the press conference, but the two leaders later did connect.

10 daily contacted Morrison's office for comment on Ardern's claim that he tried ringing during the press conference.

A spokesperson in Morrison's office said the prime ministers spoke after Ardern's press conference and before one held by Morrison later on Tuesday.

But the spokesperson directed enquiries about the missed phone call to Kiwi PM's office.

10 daily has contacted Ardern's office for comment.

In his own press conference later in rural NSW, Morrison said he had just spoken to Ardern about the nations' response to the virus.

He said he is seeking to "work closely with the New Zealand government in supporting both their and our nationals who have been caught up in this event".

“Right now, the Australian Government, through our embassy, is looking to deploy, working with the Chinese Government consular officials into Hubei Province, into Wuhan," Morrison said.



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Countries with nationals in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus outbreak, are planning evacuations as the number of confirmed cases grows and China takes drastic measures to try to stop the spread.

The number of Australian citizens seeking consular help in the Hubei province has reached 40.

Morrison confirmed Chinese authorities briefed Australian embassy officials  on the situation in Hubei on Monday night.

He said the option of extracting Australians will be discussed at a meeting of the national security committee of cabinet on Wednesday.