COVID-19/Mate korona – what you need to know

The situation with the COVID-19 outbreak can change quickly. On this page, we have key information and links for where to go for COVID-19 advice.

All of Aotearoa New Zealand is at Alert Level 1. 

At Alert Level 1, you need to wear face masks/coverings on public transport, keep track of where you've been and follow basic hygiene measures, including washing your hands, coughing or sneezing into your elbow and maintaining physical distancing. Learn more about Alert Level 1.

If you have cold or flu symptoms, stay home and call your GP or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 to see if you need a test. 

The Government is encouraging everyone to use the COVID Tracer app to help you keep track of where you've been. You can download it here. If you don't have a smartphone, you can use this booklet to keep track of your movements.

Controls at the borders remain for those entering New Zealand, including health screening and testing for all arrivals, and 14-day managed isolation or quarantine.

These requirements are all to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. 

See more COVID-19 outbreak topics or learn more about COVID-19 including symptoms, how it is spread and what you can do to help prevent it.

Where to go for COVID-19 advice

The situation with the COVID-19 outbreak can change quickly. The NZ Government has created a Unite against COVID-19 website for all your COVID-19 questions, including those that are not health-related. They have translated resources available here. You can also follow Unite against COVID-19 on Facebook and get regular email updates by subscribing here.

The Ministry of Health also has up to date information on its websiteFacebook page and Twitter channel

The Government has also launched a WhatsApp channel Govt.NZl which is free to use on any mobile device and has information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not-for-profit organisations and local government. A Wellington region COVID-19 helpline is available from 7am–9pm on 0800 141 967.

Do I need to get tested (swabbed) for COVID-19?

If you're sick, get tested. If you are offered a test, please say yes.

Call Healthline (0800 358 5453) or your doctor, or visit a testing station to get a test if you:

  • develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19
  • are connected to a COVID-19 case or to the sites where there have been cases
  • are a contact of someone who has had close contact with a case. 

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to common illnesses such as a cold or flu. You may have one or more of the following:

  • a new or worsening cough (mare tauraki)
  • fever (at least 38˚C) (kirikā)
  • shortness of breath (hēmanawa)
  • a sore throat  (korokoro mamae)
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • temporary loss of smell.

Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

Some people have less typical symptoms such as only:

  • fever
  • diarrhoea (runny poos)
  • headache, myalgia (muscle pain)
  • nausea/vomiting (feeling or being sick)
  • confusion/irritability.

Note that the less common symptoms are more common with the new variants.

Symptoms can take up to 14 days to show after a person has been infected. The virus can be passed onto others before they know they have it – from up to two days before symptoms develop.

This advice applies right across Aotearoa New Zealand. If you are asked to have a COVID-19 test, please do so. It's part of how you can keep your whānau and community safe.

Publicly funded COVID-19 related care – including diagnosis, testing and treatment – is provided free to anyone who needs it. This means it doesn't matter about your citizenship or immigration status, nationality or level of medical insurance coverage. You still need to pay the usual fees for any other health care.

Read more about getting tested for COVID-19.

Phone the main Healthline number 0800 611 116 if you have health concerns not related to COVID-19. If it is an emergency, phone 111 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department. 

Need an interpreter or information in another language?

  1. Feeling unwell? Call Healthline 0800 358 5453
  2. Immediately say your language you need, for example, ‘Korean’ and wait (it could take up to 5–10 minutes). Do not hang up!
  3. The Healthline staff have been briefed not to carry on talking in English to you if you have said the language you need first. You will be connected to an interpreter.
  4. You can tell the interpreter your health concerns as part of a three-way conversation with the Healthline staff.

See also translations on the Unite against Covid site, and the Ministry of Health's easy to read resources translated by the Red Cross into other languages and the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) website for health-related information and advice on COVID-19 in more 45 languages. Find your language and click to see translated resources and/or helpful regional websites here.

Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

The Government has set up a number of community testing centres to provide safe places to get tested (swabbed) for COVID-19. Covid-19 tests are free. Read more about community testing centres. You can also contact your doctor as many also offer testing.

Resources for Māori

COVID-19 has the potential to have a serious impact on Māori, so Māori need access to tailored and relevant information, resources and practical guidance and advice on how to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • The official government Unite Against Covid site has resources translated into te reo Māori.
  • For information and resources specifically for Māori see
  • Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā has developed COVID-19 resources for Māori
  • Paerangi is an online information and referral centre designed specifically for whānau hauā (whanau with impairments), nga marae and kaumātua.
  • There is also a support/information phone line: 0800 100 132.

Resources for Pasifika communities

Prepare Pacific is a website that has been set up to help get information out to Pasifika communities to help in the battle against Coronavirus.

There is also a weekly social media, radio and TV broadcast in 9 Pacific languages. Videos are released each week on Wednesday on social media, followed by radio bulletins on Thursday and then a special TV3 (Three) broadcast on Fridays at 4pm (and replayed every Monday at 11pm). You can view the videos on the Ministry for Pacific People's Facebook page, YouTube channel and the government’s COVID-19 website. 

Information for Pasifika peoples can also be found on the Ministry of Pacific Peoples website and on the Ministry of Pacific Peoples Facebook page.

Information for people with disabilities and their family/whānau

Advice on what you can do stay safe and healthy. You need to do everything you can to prevent yourself from coming into contact with COVID-19. This means being careful, clean and making a plan. Don’t be scared, be prepared. Read more information for disabled people and their family and whānau.

Paerangi is an online information and referral centre designed specifically for whānau hauā (whānau with impairments).

Looking after your mental wellbeing

If you or someone you know is struggling, there is help and support available. You don't have to go it alone. See also: taking care of your mental wellbeing during the lockdown and helping kids cope with anxiety.

Support for people on their own or caring for a vulnerable person 

Register with to get advice and check-ins from trained and Police-vetted volunteers across New Zealand. Find out more at

Information for people with diabetes

Based on overseas experience, it appears that people with diabetes who contract COVID-19 are at increased risk of serious complications of the infection, including respiratory failure and death. This means you need to take particular care of yourself during this time. Read more about diabetes and COVID-19.

Other COVID-19 concerns

  • For travel advice, visit the Government’s SafeTravel website at
  • If you need temporary accommodation due to COVID-19, please phone 0508 754 163.
  • Information for international students can be found at NauMai NZ.
  • For information about financial support, including the wage subsidy scheme, leave and self-isolation support and business cash flow and tax measures, see COVID-19 financial support on the Work and Income website

Learn more about COVID-19 including symptoms, how it is spread and what you can do to help prevent it.

Learn more

Unite against COVID-19 NZ Government, 2020
Covid-19 Education Immunisation Advisory Centre, NZ
COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Ministry of Health, NZ
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak World Health Organization
Easy to read information about COVID-19 Ministry of Health, NZ
Translated information about COVID-19 NZ Government, 2020

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.