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Novel coronavirus

What do I need to know about novel coronavirus?

No cases in NZ

People in the Southern Region are advised that to date there have been no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus  in New Zealand to date.

However, New Zealand’s health authorities advise that the likelihood of importing a case is high, but the risk of an ongoing outbreak in New Zealand remains low.  They are taking precautions and making information available to the public.

What is novel coronavirus?

Novel coronavirus first diagnosed in Wuhan, China is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted from person to person.  It has now been reported in other cities in China and other countries across the world.

It appears that most cases have mild to moderate illness.  In severe cases, the virus can cause pneumonia and severe acute respiratory infection.

Novel Coronavirus questions and answers

What precautions can I take?

Please follow the basic principles to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections. These are:

  • regularly washing hands (for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap and dry thoroughly)
  • covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze
  • staying home if you are sick
  • avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • if you feel unwell you should avoid public gatherings and events.

Information in New Zealand sign language

Number to call for health advice and information

The Ministry of Health have set up a dedicated 0800 number for any coronavirus health advice and information and any questions you have about coronavirus, self-isolation etc.

The number is 0800 358 5453 – it is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Or for international SIMs +64 9 358 5453

People calling that line will be able to talk with a member of the National Telehealth Service. They have access to interpreters.

Travel advisory 

As of 2 February 2020, all travellers arriving in New Zealand out of mainland China, or any travellers who have had exposure to a confirmed case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) are expected to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China or were exposed to novel coronavirus.

Existing travellers already in New Zealand who arrived or transited from mainland China after 19 January should refer to previous advice. Self-isolation for people who arrived before 2 February only applies if they have been in Wuhan City or Hubei Province.

Travel information for people who have recently returned from mainland China: Novel coronavirus - advice for travellers

People arriving or who have transiting through China - register with Healthline

The Ministry of Health are asking people arriving or transiting through mainland China to:

  • Please register their details with Healthline within 24 hours of arrival
  • Self-isolate for 14 days

Please register your details with Healthline while you are in New Zealand. This must include your personal mobile number. They are doing this to provide you with health support while you are in New Zealand.

Call 0800 358 5453 to register.

If you are using an international SIM, call +64 9 358 5453

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 healthcare 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. 

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

Guidance for people returning to New Zealand from mainland China about self isolation: Ministry of Health - self isolation

For more information

More information which is regularly updated can be found here: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/novel-coronavirus-china-2019-ncov