Protecting yourself and others from COVID-19

There are simple ways to protect yourself and others, and prevent future spread of COVID-19.

Last updated: 21 September 2021

The information on this page applies to everyone, including vulnerable people and those at higher risk of getting COVID-19. See also the advice on the Unite Against COVID-19 website

On this page:


Get vaccinated as soon as you can

We have moved into the final stage of our vaccination rollout, with bookings open to everyone aged 12 years and over.

Vaccinations are free and are one of the most powerful tools against COVID-19.

Getting two doses of the Pfizer vaccine is how we protect each other, our whānau, and our community, including against the delta variant of the virus.

Reserve your spot today at Book My Vaccine.nz and if you have questions or need help booking, call the Covid Vaccination Healthline 0800 28 29 26.

There is a wide range of places you can be vaccinated, including drive-through centres, marae-based centres, general practices, community pharmacies and Pacific providers.

You may be able to book directly at your local general practice, community pharmacy, or hauora provider - to find out visit www.healthpoint.co.nz or www.karawhiua.nz.


Stay home if you’re sick

Play it safe. Stay home if you’re feeling unwell. Don’t go to work and keep unwell children home from school or early childhood education. 

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 24 hours a day for advice. Someone will talk with you about your symptoms and arrange for you to be assessed.

Healthline or your general practice team will tell you what you need to do if you need to be tested.

See information about the common COVID-19 symptoms and who to contact to talk about whether you need a test.


Use basic hygiene

Basic hygiene measures include good hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, avoid touching your face, and clean surfaces.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds) and dry thoroughly. Use an alcohol-based sanitiser and rub hands together if soap and water is unavailable.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or cover your mouth and nose with tissues. Put them in a bin immediately.
  • Avoid touching your face, including your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean. Surfaces may have infectious droplets.
  • Clean surfaces regularly. This includes items frequently touch like door handles and phones.
  • Improve ventilation. Open windows are recommended to increase fresh air in your home. If mechanical ventilation is used, ensure the ventilation system is regularly maintained.

Wear a mask

Wearing a mask or face covering reduces the risk of people who have COVID-19 spreading the virus to others. This includes someone who has COVID-19 but feels well or has no obvious symptoms.

A mask or face covering can help stop infectious droplets or airborne particles spreading when a person speaks, laughs, coughs or sneezes. It is an extra protective physical barrier to help keep people safe.

Current exemptions for face coverings include for people aged under 12 or with illness, conditions or disabilities that make wearing them unsuitable.

Read more about the use of masks and face coverings in the community for COVID-19 and also advice on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.


Record your movements

If cases of COVID-19 are confirmed, we need to stop the spread. Keeping a record of your movements helps the Ministry of Health to do contact tracing quickly and efficiently. 

It is recommended you keep a record of where you have been, when you were there and who you were with.

The NZ COVID Tracer is a Ministry of Health app that supports fast and efficient contact tracing by creating a digital diary of the places you visit.

To record your movements, scan the QR codes wherever you go and turn on Bluetooth tracing in the app. 

You can also keep track of your movements. Some ways of doing this include:

  • keeping a list in a safe place
  • keeping a diary
  • noting in your phone calendar
  • using another app to record your movements
  • taking time-stamped photos of where you have been.

Physical distancing

The virus that causes COVID-19 is mostly spread in particles that escape from an infected person’s mouth or nose when they breathe, speak, cough, sneeze or sing.

The risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 increases the closer you are to a person and the longer you are close to that person.

The risk is highest in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and is lower outside, where there are fewer people, and when you are further away from others. 

To avoid infection, follow physical social distancing guidelines – by keeping your distance when outside your home:

  • at Alert Level 4, at least two metres in all situations when you are outside of your home and work bubble (for essential workers) 
  • at Alert Levels 2 and 3:
    • two metres in public facilities, like libraries and pools, and in retail shops like supermarkets
    • one metre in controlled environments, like workplaces and schools.

Follow limits on bubble size at the different Alert Levels – see below and on the United Against COVID-19 website.

Read more in About COVID-19 – symptoms and spread.


What to do at each Alert Level

Information on what public health actions to follow at each Alert Level

 

1

2

3

4

Unite Against COVID-19 Guidance on Alert Levels

Alert Level 1

Alert level 2

Alert Level 3

Alert Level 4

If you are sick 
stay home and call Healthline (0800 358 5453) to discuss testing

Yes

Yes

There may be some situations where you need to stay at home, self-isolate or go into a quarantine facility

Yes

There may be some situations where you need to stay at home, self-isolate or go into a quarantine facility

Yes

There may be some situations where you need to stay at home, self-isolate or go into a quarantine facility

Good hygiene – hand washing, cough etiquette, and clean highly touched surfaces

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Wear a mask or face covering*
(unless an exemption applies – people aged 12 and under or with an illness, conditions or disabilities that make wearing them unsuitable)

Yes on public transport, on flights and by taxi and ride-share drivers (passengers are strongly encouraged to)

Yes on public transport, on flights and by taxi and ride-share drivers (passengers are strongly encouraged to)

Yes for most people visiting and working in businesses and services.

Encouraged when you cannot maintain physical distance from others.

Read more on Use of masks and face coverings in the community

Legally required for employees and customers at businesses and services, on public transport and at departure points (eg, train stations, airports and bus stops) and in taxi or ride-share vehicles (passengers and drivers).

Strongly recommended when you’re outside your home and in closed spaces ** where physical distancing is not always possible and contact with other people outside your bubble may occur.

Read more on Use of masks and face coverings in the community 

Legally required for employees and customers at businesses and services, on public transport and at departure points (eg, train stations, airports and bus stops) and in taxi or ride-share vehicles (passengers and drivers).

Encouraged when you leave home especially when physical distancing (of two metres) is difficult to maintain.

Use the NZ COVID Tracer app – to keep track of where you’ve been

 

Scan in or record your movements. Turn on Bluetooth tracing in the app.

 

Scan in or record your movements. Turn on Bluetooth tracing in the app.

Everyone aged 12 and over must legally keep a record of where they have been when visiting certain places such as restaurants, cinemas, concerts, churches, and close-contact businesses like hairdressers.

More businesses and locations are legally required to take steps to ensure a people can easily make a record when they visit.

Read about Record keeping and contact tracing

Scan in or record your movements. Turn on Bluetooth tracing in the app.

More businesses and locations are legally required to take steps to ensure a people can easily make a record when they visit.

Scan in or record your movements. Turn on Bluetooth tracing in the app.

Essential services operating are legally required to take steps to ensure a people can easily make a record when they visit.

Physical distancing

No

Keep your distance when outside your home of at least:

  • Two metres in public facilities like libraries and pools; and in retail shops, like supermarkets

  • One metre in controlled environments, like workplaces and schools

Keep your distance when outside your home of at least:

  • Two metres in public and in retail shops, like supermarkets
  • One metre in controlled environments, like workplaces and school

Keep your distance of at least two metres in all situations where interacting outside of home and work bubble (for essential workers)

 

Reduce your bubble size (See guidance at Alert levels)

No

Limit gatherings to 100

Follow Alert Level 3 directions on bubbles

Follow Alert Level 4 directions on bubbles

* For health care setting please refer to Personal protective equipment use in health and disability care settings or your workplace infection prevention and control guidelines

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