COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) - New Zealand Sign Language

Sign language logo. These sign language videos are provided by Deaf Aotearoa. It summarises key information on the health advice for the general public page.

On this page:

What is COVID-19?

Recently, an outbreak of a new coronavirus disease now called COVID-19 was identified (sometimes called novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV).

Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses which cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

New Zealand is prepared and ready to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak should it occur here.

The risk of an ongoing outbreak is low-moderate, but we are monitoring the situation closely.


How do I identify the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms include: fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, sore throat, sneezing plus runny nose, loss of smell.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19.

The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

If you have these symptoms please call Healthline for free on 08003855453 using the Video Relay Service.

Dedicated 0800 number

Dedicated Healthline 0800 number for COVID-19 health advice and information.

The number is 0800 358 5453

It is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You should call that dedicated number, to register if you have self-isolated yourself.

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.

Advice on self-isolation

COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) has broken out in several countries.

If you have departed from one of these affected countries in the last 14 days,

or you have been in close contact with someone who is confirmed with COVID-19, in the last 14 days,

 you may have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19.

You may not know if you have been exposed as it may take up to two weeks for symptoms to present.

To keep yourself and others safe by self-isolation.

This means if you departed a country where there has been an outbreak of COVID-19,

or you have been in close contact with someone who is confirmed with COVID-19, 

you need to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of departure or meeting of the person.

What does it mean to self-isolate?

This means not meeting with other people. Don't go to work, school, church, or shopping etc.

You should stay at least 1m away from other people.

If you share a home with other people, avoid close contact with other people,

 don't share dishes, food, towels, pillows etc.

It is important that dishes are cleaned in the dishwasher and use the washing machine for towels and pillows etc.

Remember to cover your nose and mouth if you need to cough or sneeze.

You can use the sleeve of your arm,

or you can use a tissue and dispose of the tissue in a bin.

When you have finished, you should wash your hands.

Remember to wash you hands with warm water and soap.

You can use a hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 

If you need food shopping, you can ask family or friends to do this for you, 

or you can place an order via online shopping and arrange for delivery at the door. This is safe.

 It is best that you avoid using public transport, taxis and uber where you share facilities.

Contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453

The symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever, and shortness of breath.


How it spreads

How COVID-19 spreads?

Like the flu, COVID-19 can be transmitted from person to person.

When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may generate droplets containing the virus.

Droplet-spread diseases can be spread by, coughing and sneezing, 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.


You can take some simple steps to help stop the spread of diseases like COVID-19.

Avoid close contact with people with cold or flu-like illnesses.

Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing.

Before eating or handling food, after using the toilet, after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses, after caring for sick people.

Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and dry them thoroughly.


Currently, there is no specific treatment for coronavirus.

As this is a new virus, there is currently no vaccine available.


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