Long COVID Programme

The Ministry of Health has established a long COVID programme with the goal of supporting patients with long COVID in the New Zealand context.

Most people with COVID-19 recover within 2–6 weeks. For others, a full recovery will take up to 12 weeks. Some people report a diverse range of symptoms for weeks or months after the expected recovery period. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the clinical definition of long COVID is ongoing symptoms that continue 12 weeks or more after infection with SARS-CoV-2.

The long COVID programme has been established to disseminate emerging models of care, clinical practice, patient self-management and digital enablement to support patients with long COVID in New Zealand.  


The programme is based on the following principles:

  • giving effect to our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, including considering the interests and needs of Māori
  • ensuring equity, which involves inclusiveness for all communities, particularly those most affected by COVID-19 outbreaks (ie, Māori and Pacific peoples)
  • ensuring equity of access to services and outcomes,
  • ensuring services are effective, timely and reflect best-practice as the evidence emerges
  • ensuring services are patient centred, including patient self-management and digital enablement to support patients with long COVID
  • long COVID symptoms are investigated, treated, and funded in the same way as other long-term conditions.

Work programme

Within the work programme, four workstreams are underway to support the development of the long COVID rehabilitation and service delivery guidance for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Long COVID Expert Group

The Ministry established the Long COVID Expert Advisory Group in 2022 to assess the evidence on long COVID and apply it to the Aotearoa New Zealand context, to help inform recommendations for clinical practice and guidelines. The group has now completed it work.


The Ministry published the following guidelines, following the work undertaken by the Long COVID Expert Advisory Group:


Teams within the Ministry of Health also produce a long COVID evidence brief which is updated over time. This document is accessible on the COVID-19: Science News page.  


The Ministry of Health has funded a number of research projects on the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and future pandemic responses. In August 2021, Victoria University of Wellington was funded to undertake the “Impacts of COVID-19 in Aotearoa—Ngā Kawekawe o Mate Korona” study. This study aims to understand the experiences of people in Aotearoa New Zealand who have had COVID-19, and to learn about the short and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on the health and well-being of individuals, whānau and families.

The study focuses particularly on Māori, Pacific peoples, people with disabilities (including long COVID), and people who developed COVID-19 through their employment. The study was completed in August 2022 with its findings recently made available. The report puts forward 33 recommendations for planning for future pandemic preparedness. The lead health agencies will work together to consider the recommendations of the study and explore an implementation plan for agreed outcomes. 

Ngā Kawekawe o Mate Korona Impacts of COVID-19 report

More recently, the following projects were funded by the Ministry:

  • LOGIC study: LONG term health Impact of COVID-19: Waikato Hospital Cohort
  • Burden of Long COVID in Aotearoa New Zealand: Establishing a Registry

These projects focus specifically on long COVID, other funded projects include long COVID within their research scope. The outcomes of these studies will be used to help inform responses to long COVID, and future pandemic preparedness.

A brief overview of the funded projects: COVID-19 and National Immunisation Programme research projects

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