COVID-19: Self-isolation, managed isolation/quarantine

Guidance on self-isolation/managed isolation/quarantine.

Last updated: 27 November 2021

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What self-isolation/managed isolation/quarantine means

  • Self-isolation involves isolating away from other members of your household (for example, have no physical contact, minimise time in shared spaces and do not share items such as cutlery and linen), whilst you remain in your own home.
  • Managed isolation/quarantine involves staying at a Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facility (MIQF).
  • Your local public health official will determine whether you need to go into self-isolation, managed isolation/quarantine. This may be a legal obligation if the Medical Officer of Health issues an Order to you to do so under section 70 of Health Act 1956. This may be monitored and can be enforced by a Medical Officer of Health.
  • If you have been defined as a Close Contact you have had exposure to a confirmed case and will be required to go into self-isolation, or managed isolation/quarantine.

Note for those people who have tested positive for COVID-19

Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 are known as cases and will be directly managed by a local public health unit (who are part of our District Health Boards). Please note if you are a case, you’ll receive instructions and advice directly from a public health official which is specific to your individual situation and according to your needs.

View advice for COVID-19 cases

Self-isolating at home

Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and everyone who lives with them, and close contacts need to isolate from the community to help stop the spread of the virus.

How long you need to isolate

You should self-isolate until you are told you no longer need to do so by a public health official.

Positive cases

  • The isolation period for fully vaccinated COVID-19 cases in the community is at least 10 days, including 72 hours symptom-free.
  • The isolation period for partially vaccinated or unvaccinated COVID-19 cases is at least 14 days, including 72 hours symptom-free.
  • Your household members will need to remain in isolation for at least 10 days after you have been released as a case. This means they will need to be in isolation for longer than you as the case will.

Close contacts

  • The isolation period for close contacts who are fully vaccinated is at least 7 days. You will need to be tested immediately and on day 5. 
  • The isolation period for close contacts who are partially vaccinated or not vaccinated is at least 10 days. You will need to be tested immediately, on day 5 and on day 8. 

To be fully vaccinated, it needs to be 7 days or more since you had your second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

If you refuse or are unable to be tested, you may be required to isolate for longer. Public health officials will guide you.

If you are a Close Contact and have, or later develop, any COVID-19 symptoms the people in your immediate household should stay at home until you receive a negative test result; public health officials will provide you with further advice. 

For more information about what staying at home means, see Staying at home.

What to do when isolating 

  • You should not leave the house for any reason while you are awaiting a test result, are a COVID-19 case or household member of a case, until you receive a negative test result or until you’re cleared by public health staff.
  • Only exercise at home or in your garden.
  • Get supplies of food/kai and medicine by asking your whanau and friends to shop for you, or by ordering supplies online if possible. Identify a safe drop-off point outside the house for them to leave supplies.
    • If you need assistance, the Ministry of Social Development has information about where you can go for services and support, what you can get help with, and contact information.
  • Maintain a 2-metre distance from your household members and do not share a bed or bedroom with any member of your household.
  • Minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms as much as possible and keep shared spaces well ventilated.
  • If you need medical assistance, call ahead to your health provider and tell them you are have COVID-19 or are a close contact. If you need urgent medical help or are having difficulties breathing, call 111 immediately.

What not to do when isolating

  • Don’t have visitors, except people providing essential care to you or someone in the household.
  • Don’t leave your home (except if seeking urgent medical care). So, don’t go out to get food/kai or medicine, don’t go to work, school or public places and don’t go on public transport or using taxis.
  • Don’t go to work. If you are unable to work from home during this time, your employer (or you, if you are self-employed) may be able to apply for leave support to help support you. For more information, visit the Work and Income website.
  • Don’t get vaccinated until you have recovered. If you have a vaccination appointment scheduled, either ring the booking line or go online to change your appointment.


Self-isolating at home: Apartment dwellers

If you are self-isolating in an apartment building or multi-unit dwelling, you should self-isolate for the time period directed by public health and follow all the same health advice as applies to people self-isolating at home (please see above).

There is additional guidance for occupants and Body Corporate Committees about how to prepare for and manage an apartment building where a COVID-19 case is self-isolating.

This guidance is based on international guidelines and best current evidence available as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Further updates may be made as new evidence emerges and in response to the level of community transmission in New Zealand.

Managed isolation/quarantine at a Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facility (MIQF)

Close Contacts should isolate for a minimum of seven days since the last contact or exposure to the confirmed case and until they are told they no longer need to do so by a public health official. More information is available on the Managed Isolation and Quarantine website.

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