Information on the latest science and technical advice on COVID-19.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health has seen high interest in all aspects of the virus from not only the scientific and health community but the general public as well.
Kōrero Pūtaiao | Science Chat
Science Chat will provide regular, high-level updates on different aspects of COVID-19.
- June 2021: Testing saliva for detection of SARS-CoV-2 (in the context of COVID-19) (PDF, 185 KB) or (Word, 102 KB): Please note this document has been updated as of 11 June to clarify the performance of saliva testing that could have been misinterpreted to mean that saliva testing was not as sensitive as nasopharyngeal swab testing.
- April 2021: Monitoring vaccine safety (PDF, 160 KB) or (Word, 98 KB)
- March 2021: About vaccines (PDF, 133 KB) or (Word, 95 KB)
COVID-19 Science Updates
- 14 May 2021: Shifting thinking on aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (PDF, 269 KB): The WHO and, more recently, CDC have updated their statements to more clearly accept the role airborne transmission is likely to have in the spread of COVID-19. While the Ministry of Health has long been factoring this likely mode of transmission into its planning and mitigation strategies, this has been based on caution rather than certainty. While certainty still remains somewhat elusive, recent expert summaries (noted within) and the acceptance from peak bodies further strengthens our basis for the continual revision of our mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of airborne transmission.
- 7 May 2021: COVID-19 vaccines and their effect on viral transmission (PDF, 256 KB) (Word, 96 KB)
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can undergo genetic mutations that occur naturally over time or from other pressures. These are known as variants. These updates provide information on variants of the virus that are of interest or concern.
- 15 June 2021 - Variants update - Full report (PDF, 791 KB) (Word, 702 KB)
- 15 June 2021 - Variants update - Summary (PDF, 182 KB) (Word, 112 KB)
- 4 June 2021 - Variants update - Full report (PDF, 199 KB) (Word, 573 KB)
- 4 June 2021 - Variants update - Summary (PDF, 199 KB) (Word, 107 KB)
Disclaimer: The information available on this page is intended to provide scientific updates relating to COVID-19 to the public. All reasonable measures have been taken to ensure the quality and accuracy of the information available in these updates at the time of publishing.