I read between the lines a statement made a few days ago that mentioned 'buying NZ time'.
My guess is that the expectation is this thing will get out into the wild and be as common as the flu.
Buying time , gives NZ time to sort out its response learning from other countries, getting us closer to a vaccine , and enabling overseas medical response to be fine tuned so we can apply it here
While structured countries can contain the virus (China, NZ , Australia) there are many more that just can't . Maybe even the USA is in this group given the lack of access to health care for many. Sudan , Papua New Guinea, Haiti, Afgahnistan.... There are just too many people in these countries with such limited means to fight this effectively
And I dont think restricting movement between countries will work, just look at the number getting into Europe from the Middle East and Africa, or from Mexico to the USA already.