| 04 Feb 2020

Click here to find more information which is regularly updated by the Ministry of Health website. You can also call your local doctor or call the dedicated 0800 for health advice and information. The number is 0800 358 5453 – it is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Coronavirus – what you need to know

While we are still learning more about this new virus – we do know the risk of the virus spreading in New Zealand is very low.

How worried should I be?

  • Your chances of catching the coronavirus in New Zealand are very low.
  • It is highly unlikely you will catch the virus
    – walking down the street,
    – in a supermarket or
    – on public transport.
  • Coronavirus is slightly more infectious than the flu – you are only likely to catch it if you are close to someone with the virus. Most people catch the virus from someone at home, a close workmate or someone they spend
    time with.
  • People will not be moving around the community if they are suspected of having the virus – they will be in isolation. Their family and anyone they may have infected will also be asked to stay at home.

How serious is coronavirus?

  • People are being infected, mainly in China, but only a very small number have died.
  • Most people have a mild illness.
  • People of all ages are being infected, but older people and those with medical conditions seem most likely to get seriously ill.

How do I protect myself and my family?

Everyone should protect themselves from the virus, as you would for the flu.

  • Washing your hands regularly, or using hand sanitiser, is the best way to avoid this illness.
  • As with other illnesses, do not go to work or school if you are sick.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or clothing, and wash hands afterwards.
  • Avoid being close to people who are sick.
  • Wear a mask only if you are coughing and sneezing.
  • Washing your hands often and covering coughs and sneezes will do more to protect you from the virus than a mask.
  • If you are sharing food, use utensils to serve the food and keep your personal spoon, fork, or chopsticks separate to avoid transmission through saliva.

Advice about self-isolation

Self-isolation means avoiding situations where you could infect other people. This means all situations where you may come in contact with others, such as social gatherings, work, school, child care/pre-school centres, university, faith-based gatherings, aged care and health care facilities, prisons, sports gatherings, supermarkets, restaurants, shopping malls, and all public gatherings.

If you are a visitor to New Zealand, this means you should avoid sitting in a restaurant, participating in any type of tour group, or using public transport, including flights, buses, and trains between cities in New Zealand.

Click here to read more about self-isolation.

If you are unsure if you should be self-isolating, please contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.