If you become unwell or test positive for COVID-19 while travelling

Information for people who become unwell or test positive for COVID-19 while travelling.

On this page:

Also see:

Advice for overseas visitors to New Zealand

Visitors to New Zealand should check (before they travel) that their insurance covers them for the treatment of COVID-19, and for what they will need to do if they get COVID-19 while in New Zealand ― such as changing flights, or self-isolating in a hotel.

The only people who automatically qualify for the same publicly funded COVID-19 healthcare as New Zealand citizens and residence-class visa holders are:

  • Australian citizens or residence-class visa holders; and
  • citizens of the United Kingdom.

COVID-19 testing for people who are symptomatic, and vaccinations, are provided free to anyone in New Zealand (apart from pre-departure tests for overseas travel).

More information can be found at Travel to New Zealand

If you become unwell

If you become unwell while away from home, order a rapid antigen test kit online and pick up from your nearest collection point listed on Healthpoint.

Find out more about how to take a RAT and report your result.

Do not wait until you get home to get tested and isolate.

Once you record your test result in My Covid Record you will get a message from the official 2328 or 2648 number.. This will have a link to our online contact tracing form to share details and access support, and the COVID-19 Health Hub.

If you test positive for COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID-19 while away from home, you may need to either:

  • self-isolate while you recover where you are
  • isolate elsewhere
  • return directly to your home to self-isolate there.

Others in your whānau or group staying with are likely to have to isolate with you as they will be considered Household Contacts. This includes:

  • Anybody who has spent at least one night or day (more than 8 hours) in a residence with you while you were infectious.
  • Anybody who does not normally share a residence with you but has spent a night in the same room as you.
  • Anybody you are sharing non-communal holiday accommodation with, such as a hotel room, tent, campervan or temporary holiday home (such as a bach, Airbnb or similar).

See COVID-19 Information for Household and Close Contacts

Check the COVID-19 Health Hub for advice on your situation.

Think about if you can safely return home

You will only be able to return home if it is safe for you to do so. You, or a member of your whānau or group must drive straight home. It must not be long-distance road travel that requires an overnight stay or interisland travel (including flights).

You should drive directly to your home, making as few stops as possible and minimising your contact with other people. Remember to scan wherever you go, wear a face covering when not in the car, and maintain social distancing in public spaces. If you are using a borrowed or rental car, you will need to advise the car owner or car rental service so they can take steps to thoroughly clean the vehicle afterwards.

When isolating at home, follow the isolation guidance on the COVID-19 Health Hub.

Self-isolating where you are

If you are unable to return home safely, you may be supported to isolate in accordance with the COVID-19 Care in the Community programme.  You will either need to isolate where you are, or in alternative accommodation as agreed with your care co-ordinator.

See information on care in the community and what to expect at Advice for people with COVID-19.

Paying extra costs if you have to extend your stay

If you have to extend your stay at your location, or find elsewhere to stay at your location, it may cost you extra. If you are planning to travel, please ensure you have a plan for where you might stay should you need to isolate. If you test positive, this could be for at least another 7 days. This will need to be somewhere which does not have shared guest facilities.

Cancelling flights or ferry bookings

If you can’t return home and have to self-isolate you may need to change your flights or a ferry booking. This will be at your own cost, unless it is covered by any travel insurance you may have.

Arranging extra medication

If you are self-isolating away from home and you need extra medication, talk to your GP or usual pharmacy to see if they can arrange for you to get a prescription filled locally. It may be a good idea to take some extra medication with you, just in case.

Organising food delivery

If you are self-isolating, you will need to organise contactless food delivery. But we all need food and essential items such as medicine, so please don’t try to go without. There are plenty of ways to get this to you.

  • If you have family, whānau, friends or iwi close by, see if they could deliver food and essential items to you (without coming into physical contact with you).
  • If you’re able to, you can use food delivery services such as supermarket home delivery, or any other delivery service.

Remember to ask people to leave deliveries outside your home. They could text or ring the doorbell to let you know it’s there.

If you need food or other items, and can’t get it delivered or you can’t pay for it:

  • you can also indicate you need welfare support through filling in the online form that you will get
  • Go to the Work and Income website or call the COVID Welfare Line (0800 512 337).

Extending your pet’s stay in a kennel or a cattery

If you need to self-isolate away from home, you may need to extend your pet’s stay in a kennel or a cattery. Any extension for your pet’s stay in a kennel or cattery will be at your own cost, unless it is covered by any travel insurance you may have.

Self-isolating at a location with no online supermarket delivery 

If you are self-isolating away from home at a location that doesn’t have online supermarket delivery and you don’t know anyone to shop for you, please talk to your care co-ordinator at assessment. You can also call the COVID Welfare line (0800 512 337) if you need extra help.

Self-isolating at a location with no laundry facilities

If you are self-isolating at a location and need to get laundry done but don’t have access to laundry facilities that aren’t shared and you don’t know anyone to help, let your care coordinator know and they be able to assist you with alternative arrangements.


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