Self-isolation guidance for people returning to New Zealand.
This page was last updated 21 February 2020.
If you have arrived today or transited through mainland China or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days:
If you have been in, or transited through, mainland China or been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days you may have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19.
If you have been exposed to, it may take up to two weeks for symptoms to present. To keep yourself and others safe, you should isolate yourself from other people for 14 days from the time you left or transited through mainland China, or were exposed to COVID-19.
If you have not been in contact with someone who has been infected with COVID-19, your risk of being infected is very low.
We are asking people to take simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, like you would with the seasonal flu virus. We know it is a stressful time, but taking these measures will help protect you, your family, and all of New Zealand from COVID-19 and other common infectious diseases.
We are only asking people who have travelled to, or transited through, mainland China to self-isolate, not any other people who they may be living with.
What does self-isolation mean?
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, or if you do not know where you can go, please contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.
Living with others
As much as possible, you should limit your contact with people other than the family members/companions you travelled with. You should avoid having visitors to your home, but it is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.
If you are in a home where the other residents have not travelled (eg, your home / flat, a homestay, student accommodation), minimise close contact with the other residents by avoiding situations where you may have face-to-face contact closer than 1 metre for more than 15 minutes.
You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water, place them in the dishwasher for cleaning or wash them in your washing machine.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or you can cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds making sure you dry them thoroughly. You can also use hand sanitiser.
Wash your hands
Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can use a hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available and if your hands are not visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
You may need to travel across New Zealand to your accommodation, for example, by plane, train or bus. Where possible, sit in a window seat in a row by yourself. If you are unwell you should seek advice from Healthline before you travel.
While travelling make sure you use hand sanitiser regularly. If you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth or nose, or you can cough and sneeze into your sleeve.
You should minimise your use of public transport, taxis and ride-sharing apps like Uber. Avoid crowded public transport, especially during rush hour.
Getting food and medicine
Where possible, contact a friend, family member or delivery services to carry out errands like supermarket shopping on your behalf.
Taking care of your wellbeing
Your emotional and mental health is important. It is normal to feel stressed or lonely when self-isolating, but there are some things you can do to feel better.
Reach out to your usual supports, like family and friends, and talk about how you feel. We also recommend sticking to a routine such as having regular mealtimes, bedtimes and exercising.
If you feel you are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.
If you become unwell, contact Healthline
Contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453, or your GP if you begin to feel unwell. The symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever, and shortness of breath.