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.
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.
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.
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 are medicines used to treat COVID-19 infection. They may help you become less sick and stay out of hospital.
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.
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.
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 is28 days or lesssince 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 is29 days or moresince your last COVID-19 infection it is possible that you have COVID-19 again and you should take a rapid antigen test (RAT).
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)
Find out about COVID-19, including the symptoms and what you can do to avoid catching and spreading it.
What is COVID-19/Mate korona?
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type ofcoronavirus.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.
A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. The novel coronavirus now known as COVID-19 was first encountered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It has since spread to many other countries around the globe and is now recognised as apandemic. Learn more about the COVID-19 outbreak in New Zealand.
It is called COVID-19 because it was first identified in 2019. There is no COVID-1 to COVID-18. It's known in te reo Māori as mate korona or Kowheori-19.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The symptoms or tohu mate 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.
Less common symptoms
Some people may have less typical symptoms such as only:
diarrhoea (runny poos)
headache, myalgia (muscle pain)
nausea/vomiting (feeling or being sick)
Note that the less common symptoms are more common with the new variants.
If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor, Healthline 0800 358 5453 or your iwi health provider. These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. Difficulty breathing is a sign of possiblepneumoniaand requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms can take up to 14 days to show after you have been infected. The virus can be passed onto others before they know they have it – from up to 2 days before symptoms develop.
For most people, COVID-19 infection will cause mild to moderate illness. However, it can make some people very ill. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease or diabetes) are at highest risk of severe disease.
How is COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19, like the flu, is spread by droplets. This means that when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may spread droplets containing the virus a short distance.
That’s why it’s important to use good hand hygiene, practice physical distancing if you don’t know someone and stay home if you’re unwell. This includes regularly washing and drying your hands and coughing or sneezing into a disposable tissue or into your elbow.
What can I do to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19?
As with other respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of infection:
cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues
put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately
wear a face covering – you should wear one whenever you can. COVID-19 spreads by droplets, so face coverings are a way we can protect ourselves and others
try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
Read more about public health measures to stop the spread or tikanga akuaku,including hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, not touching your face and physical distancing (sometimes known as 'social distancing' or tū tīrara).
A national COVID-19 healthline is available anytime on 0800 358 5453. Wellington region COVID-19 helpline is available from 7am–9pm on 0800 141 967.
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.
Support for people on their own or caring for a vulnerable person
Register with wecare.kiwi to get advice and check-ins from trained and Police-vetted volunteers across New Zealand. Find out more at wecare.kiwi.
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.