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

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

COVID-related healthcare

Note: from 13 February 2023, some people will have to pay for COVID-related visits to their healthcare provider. COVID care will still be free for you if you:

  • have a high-risk medical condition
  • are Māori or Pasifika
  • have a disability
  • are aged 65 years or older
  • meet the criteria for antiviral medicine.

Most people will be able to manage their symptoms and recover at home. However, if you need to go to hospital because of COVID, hospital care will remain free. 

If you need help, contact your healthcare provider for advice or call Healthline 0800 358 5453.

Isolation and testing

  • Only people who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for 7 days. 
  • If you are a household contact, test daily using a rapid antigen test (RAT) for 5 days from the day that the person in your household tested positive. As long as you test negative, you will be able to go about daily life as normal.

Face masks

  • Masks won't be required anywhere, except when visiting certain healthcare facilities like hospitals, GPs, pharmacies and aged care residential facilities. 
  • Some places like workplaces or marae may ask people to wear a mask. Masks are recommended in confined places such as public transport or when visiting vulnerable people.

International travellers

  • People arriving in New Zealand from overseas will continue to receive free RATs at the airport and will be encouraged to test on day 0/1 and 5/6. 

COVID-19 antivirals

  • COVID-19 antivirals are medicines used to treat COVID-19 infection. They may help you become less sick and stay out of hospital.
  • They are free for people who are at risk of severe illness with COVID-19. Read more about who can get COVID-19 antiviral medicines. 

Refer to the Ministry of Health COVID-19 page for more information.

If you are eligible to have your COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, get it as soon as possible. Getting your booster will give you and your whānau greater protection from COVID-19, including Omicron. The second booster shot is available for some people, read more about who is eligible and when.

Rapid antigen testing (RAT) is the main form of testing 

In Aotearoa New Zealand, RATs (rapid antigen testing) are the main form of testing for COVID-19. You can now access a RAT from hundreds of locations around the country, including supermarkets and pharmacies, making getting a test much easier. Places where RATs are available can be found on the HealthPoint website, free RATS can be ordered online. Read more about RATs. 

Information on how to do a rapid antigen test is available, but each brand is slightly different so read the information in the packet as well. 

Reporting your results

After doing your rapid antigen test, you should record your result in My Covid Record, as well as advising your employer. If you cannot access My Covid Record, call 0800 222 478. Parents and caregivers can now choose to use My Covid Record to report RAT results for children under 12 and other family members. Read more about how to report RAT results.

Most people with mild to moderate symptoms people will self-manage their illness at home

To avoid pressure on our health system, most people with mild to moderate symptoms people will self-manage their illness at home, or in suitable alternative accommodation, with support from local healthcare providers. 

To help you self-manage COVID-19, see the COVID-19 Health Hub.  

If your symptoms get worse or you need urgent medical care, call your local healthcare provider or the COVID Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
If you or the person you are caring for develops difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, fainting or becomes unconscious, call 111 immediately.

Only confirmed cases have to isolate

If you test positive, you need to isolate for 7 days. This video provides more information about isolating at home. 

Information for others in your whare

If you live with someone who develops COVID-19, you are advised to take a RAT test every day for 5 days. As long as you continue to test negative you can keep doing your normal activities. If you test positive you will need to isolate for 7 days.

If you are a close contact – there is no need to isolate. Monitor yourself for symptoms and if they develop, get a test.

Can I get reinfected with COVID-19?

Yes, you can get reinfected with COVID within a short period of time – from 29 days since your last infection. Reinfection will become more likely as new variants spread among the community. 

If COVID-19 symptoms return and it is 28 days or less since your last COVID-19 infection:

  • there is no need to take a RAT
  • you should stay home and recover until 24 hours after you no longer have symptoms.  

If you develop new COVID-19 symptoms and it is 29 days or more since your last COVID-19 infection it is possible that you have COVID-19 again and you should take a rapid antigen test (RAT).

If you test positive:

If you test negative:

  • your symptoms could be another infection, such as the flu or another virus
  • if your symptoms continue you should repeat a RAT 48 hours later
  • if your result is still negative, then stay at home until at least 24 hours after your symptoms resolve. 

Read more about reinfection with COVID-19. 

Where to go for COVID-19 advice

Find out more about stopping the spread of COVID-19 in your home.
How to isolate at home.
How to use a symptom diary. 
How to use a pulse oximeter to check your oxygen levels and heart rate.
How to manage your COVID-19 symptoms. 
How to access more support Ministry of Health, NZ 

A selection of trusted sources to go for COVID-19 advice for New Zealanders in general, and for Māori and Pacific people plus those needing interpreters or in special situations can be found on the resources page.

A free helpline has been set up for businesses: North Island 0800 500 362 and South Island 0800 50 50 96.

Aotearoa e te toa! Digital tools - using technology to recover from COVID-19 at home

(Health Navigator NZ, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, 2022)

View transcript.

Learn more

COVID-19 including symptoms, how it is spread and what you can do to help prevent it
COVID-19 Information and advice translated into different languages Unite Against COVID-19, NZ
Unite against COVID-19 NZ Government
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
COVID-19 protection framework NZ Government
Testing and returning to work during Omicron Business Government NZ

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.