COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)- Advice for travellers

Information for people travelling or recently entering New Zealand.

This page was last updated 25 February 2020.

WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers but is continuing to review the situation.

WHO advises people follow the basic principles to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infection. These are:

  • avoid close contact with people suffering acute respiratory infections
  • wash hands frequently, especially after contact with ill people or their environment
  • avoid close contact with sick farm animals or wild animals
  • people with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette: 
    • maintain distance
    • cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing
    • wash hands.

As always, travellers who become sick within a month of their arrival are encouraged to seek medical advice and phone Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or a doctor. It is important to mention recent travel history, and any known contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

For New Zealanders currently in mainland China

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade urge all New Zealanders living in, visiting or travelling to China to register on SafeTravel. Registering means you will receive updated information and advice as soon as it comes to hand.

Travellers recently returned from mainland China

On February 15, the Government announced that temporary restrictions on travellers arriving in New Zealand from mainland China will remain in place as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

The restrictions, which were introduced at midnight on 2 February 2020 prevent foreign nationals travelling from or transiting through mainland China from entering New Zealand. These measures will be in place until 23:59 (NZT) on Tuesday 3 March 2020 at this stage. This position will be reviewed every 48 hours.

People who are exempt from the temporary restrictions are:

  • New Zealand citizens (including those from the three Countries of the Realm: Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands), permanent residents and their immediate family 
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents whose primary place of established residence is New Zealand
  • Air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). 

People exempt from the temporary restrictions should self-isolate for 14 days in their return  if they have been in mainland China or exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Self-isolation means you should avoid situations that could facilitate the transmission of the virus such as social gatherings and events where you come into contact with others; in particular child care/pre-school centres, primary and secondary schools (including staff and students), aged care, health care facilities, prisons, public gatherings.

People who have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19

If you have been in close contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 you should self-isolate for 14 days. If you develop symptoms including fever, coughing and difficulty breathing you should call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS or your doctor.

This means you should avoid situations that could facilitate the transmission of the virus such as social gatherings and events where you come into contact with others in particular, child care/pre-school centres, primary and secondary schools (including staff and students), aged care, health care facilities, prisons, public gatherings.

Health advice

Health advice cards in both traditional and simplified Chinese are available at international points of entry. These cards provide general advice on symptoms of concern and advise ill travellers to call Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116 and mention their travel history. Healthline has been informed and will continue to triage any symptomatic callers.

With the support of New Zealand Customs, banners have been developed for points of entry in traditional and simplified Chinese to draw attention to the health advice cards.

Download this page as a factsheet

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