There are currently outbreaks overseas of a new disease called COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus). The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation and following guidance from the World Health Organization. While the likelihood of an imported case in New Zealand is high, the likelihood of a widespread outbreak is low–moderate.
On this page:
- Current status
- Latest health advice
- Dedicated Healthline coronavirus 0800 number for health advice and information
- Advice about self-isolation
- Signs and symptoms
- How it spreads
- Advice for travellers
- What is novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?
- Information in New Zealand Sign Language
- Further information and resources
- Advice for health professionals
See novel coronavirus question and answers for more information.
There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand to date but the likelihood of importing a case is high. The risk of an ongoing outbreak in New Zealand is low-moderate, but the Ministry of Health is monitoring the situation closely. If any public health measures are needed for this virus, we will advise.
Updated 5.00 pm, 19 February
This advice is under active review and is updated regularly.
The latest updates include the following changes to the website:
- COVID-19 Media update: Final two Whangaparāoa results negative
- Public events and mass gatherings: Advice for event organisers, staff and attendees
- Caring for yourself and others who have, or may have, COVID-19 at home
- Updated guidance for health staff implementing home care of people not requiring hospitalisation for COVID-19
- COVID-19 media update - 19 February
- 从中国大陆返回新西兰人士的自我隔离指南 - Self-isolation advice in simplified Chinese
- Factsheet for Welfare Support - now available in simplified Chinese
It is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
People calling that line will be able to talk with a member of the National Telehealth Service. They have access to interpreters.
You should call that dedicated number:
- To register if you have self-isolated yourself
- For any coronavirus health advice and information and any questions you have about coronavirus, self-isolation etc.
Healthline’s main number is still the one to call for non-coronavirus health concerns - 0800 611 116.
Whichever number you call, you will get professional health advice and information.
We have updated our self-isolation guidance.
We are working with border agencies to ensure recent arrivals from mainland China are aware of the need to self-isolate and register for health checks through the new Healthline service.
For people arriving or transiting through mainland China we ask that you:
- please register your details with Healthline within 24 hours of arrival
- self-isolate for 14 days
Please register your details with Healthline while you are in New Zealand. This must include your personal mobile number. We are doing this to provide you with health support while you are in New Zealand.
Call 0800 358 5453 to register.
If you are using an international SIM, call +64 9 358 5453.
Self-isolation means staying away from situations where you could infect other people. This means any situation where you may come in close contact with others (face to face contact closer than 1 metre for more than 15 minutes), such as social gatherings, work, school, child care/pre-school centres, university, polytechnic and other education providers, faith-based gatherings, aged care and health care facilities, prisons, sports gatherings, restaurants, and all public gatherings.
If you are a visitor to New Zealand, this means you should avoid sitting in a restaurant, or participating in any type of tour group.
If you are unsure if you should be self-isolating, please contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19. Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing can be a sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention. We don’t yet know how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected, but current WHO assessments suggest that it is 2–10 days.
What do I do if I am sick right now?
If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing please telephone the dedicated Healthline 0800 number for free on 0800 358 5453.
Like the flu, COVID-19 can be transmitted from person to person. The scientific evidence confirms that coronavirus is spread by droplets. This means that when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may generate droplets containing the virus. These droplets are too large to stay in the air for long, so they quickly settle on surrounding surfaces.
Droplet-spread diseases can be spread by:
- coughing and sneezing
- close personal contact
- contact with an object or surface with viral particles on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
That's why it's really important to practice good hygiene, regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands and practice good cough etiquette.
As this is a new virus, there is currently no vaccine available.
Advice for travellers
As of 2 February 2020, all travellers arriving in New Zealand out of mainland China, or any travellers who have had exposure to a confirmed case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will be expected to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China or were exposed to novel coronavirus.
Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses which includes the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
In January 2020, officials identified a new coronavirus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, formerly known as 2019-nCoV). The disease caused by this new virus has been named COVID-19.
We don’t know yet how COVID-19 is transmitted to people, but it’s likely that it comes from an animal. A live animal market in Wuhan is suspected as the original source, but that hasn’t been confirmed. There is evidence that COVID-19 can spread from person to person in the community and in health care settings. There have been cases of COVID-19 reported in some other Chinese provinces and countries. Some of these cases have no history of travel to Wuhan.
World Health Organization (WHO) public health emergency declaration
On January 31 2020 the third meeting of the ad hoc Emergency Committee (the Committee) was convened by WHO on the basis of the Committee’s advice, regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus COVID-19. The WHO Director-General has declared the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
New Zealand's current and planned preparedness and response activities for novel coronavirus are all consistent with the advice from WHO. It is important to note that as the situation continues to evolve, so will the strategic goals and measures to prevent and reduce spread of the infection.
On 31 December 2019, China advised the World Health Organization (WHO) of a viral respiratory illness in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Many initial cases involved people who worked at or were handlers and frequent visitors to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market has been temporarily closed to carry out environmental sanitation and disinfection.
On 7 January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed the identification of a new type of coronavirus now known as COVID-19. Laboratory testing ruled out other respiratory pathogens such as influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV ) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV ).
COVID-19 has not previously been detected in humans or animals.
This sign language video was provided by Deaf Aotearoa. It summarises key information on this page.
- Public events and mass gatherings: Advice for event organisers, staff and attendees (Word, 96 KB)
- Public events and mass gatherings: Advice for event organisers, staff and attendees (PDF, 201 KB)
Caring for yourself and others who have, or may have, COVID-19 at home
- Caring for yourself and others who have, or may have, COVID-19 at home (PDF, 179 KB)
- Caring for yourself and others who have, or may have, COVID-19 at home (Word, 95 KB)
Download the All of Government factsheet for more information on what welfare support is available you. If you’re not sure what assistance may be to available, you don’t know who to contact for help or if you’d just like more information, phone the 0800 Government Helpline on 0800 779 997 (9am–5pm, 7 days a week).
For health specific questions, please call Healthline directly on 0800 358 5453.
- All of Government Factsheet for Welfare Support (PDF, 495 KB)
- All of Government Factsheet for Welfare Support (Word, 94 KB)
Simplified Chinese version
The Ministry of Health now has a Facebook page: @minhealthnz. In addition to our Twitter channel @minhealthnz, we will be using Facebook to alert people to key updates and messaging specifically about coronavirus.
Questions and answers
The Ministry has developed a novel coronavirus question and answers page. As the situation regarding novel coronavirus can evolve rapidly, the questions and answers page will be updated with the latest information.
Updated factsheet for travellers
The information for travellers arriving into New Zealand has been updated with the latest information. It is available in English and simplified Chinese. See the Advice for travellers page.
Advice to airline crew
This document provides advice to airlines and customs on what is ‘appropriate personal protection equipment’ (PPE) and what the airlines can do to prevent the spread of 2019 n-CoV on aircrafts.
- Advice to airline crew on the use of personal protective equipment (Word, 71 KB)
- Advice to airline crew on the use of personal protective equipment (PDF, 170 KB)
- Protect yourself against coronavirus - poster (PDF 1.8 MB)
- Protect yourself against coronavirus - Simplified Chinese poster (PDF 1.3 MB)
World Health Organization
- WHO website for situation updates and the latest advice.
Border control background information
- Border health measures
- Responding to Public Health Threats of International Concern at New Zealand Air and Sea Ports: Guidelines for public health units, border agencies and health service providers
See the Resources for health professionals page for resources and factsheets.
The following border advisories were emailed to border stakeholders.