Find out what you need to do if you develop COVID-19 symptoms while visiting New Zealand.
On arrival in New Zealand, we recommend you test for COVID-19 if you have symptoms. You must isolate for 7 days if you test positive. Welcome Packs containing rapid antigen test kits are available for collection at Biosecurity after you arrive.
Below you will find out what you should do if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.
Get a test
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you can request free RATs by ordering them online and picking them up from a collection site.
If you do not have symptoms but still want to take a RAT you will need to purchase your own tests from a retail outlet like some shops, pharmacies or supermarkets.
How to use a rapid antigen test
If you test positive
If you test positive, call 0800 222 478 to report your positive RAT result.
If you have a valid mobile phone number, the Ministry of Health will send a text from the official 2328 or 2648 numbers confirming your positive result. This text will provide information about self-isolation and an access code for the online contact tracing form.
You will need to go to a testing centre and get a PCR test following your positive RAT. A form will be emailed to you that you can print out or show a digital copy of at the testing centre.
It’s your responsibility to find a place to self-isolate
You must self-isolate for at least 7 days while you recover. Your 7 days start from the date you developed symptoms or the date you tested positive (whichever came first). If you do not comply, you can be fined.
You must self-isolate where you are or find alternative accommodation.
See if you can extend your current booking or be prepared to find alternative accommodation. You are expected to cover additional costs associated with extending your stay or booking alternative accommodation. Check your travel insurance policy to see if you are covered.
Who needs to isolate?
The people staying with you do not need to isolate. They are recommended to test daily for 5 days. If they test positive, they will need to follow all self-isolation rules.
If you cannot stay in your accommodation
If you cannot stay in your current accommodation, you must find alternative accommodation. Isolation accommodation could be self-contained motels, hotels, or campervans. It must be:
- close to where you are
- without shared guest facilities.
- take a commercial flight to your accommodation
- drive a long distance that requires an overnight stay
- take an inter-island ferry or public transport.
Private transport can be used to travel to your alternative accommodation. It can be your own vehicle, or you can a hire vehicle if this can be done using a contactless payment and collection system.
Reschedule or cancel your plans
Contact your airline or tourism operator to reschedule travel plans or activities. Please note, there is no legal obligation on the provider to refund or reschedule your plans.
What to do when self-isolating
- Avoid contact with the people you’re staying with, for example, sleep by yourself, limit the time you spend in shared spaces. If you cannot, stay at least 2 metres apart and wear a face mask when near others.
- Do your own laundry.
- Clean surfaces regularly, including items frequently touched, such as door handles, light switches, phones.
- Open windows to increase air flow.
- Get items delivered, such as food and medicine.
- Work from your accommodation if you are able to do so.
While self-isolating, do not:
- leave your accommodation for any reason (unless for one of the permitted reasons below)
- go out to get food or medicine
- share items with others in your household — for example, dishes, toothbrushes, and towels
- go to public places
- use public transport or taxis and rideshare vehicles
- have visitors, except people providing essential care to you or someone in the household.
Permitted reasons to leave your place of self-isolation
You can leave your accommodation provided you always wear a face mask to:
- report for, and undergo, any medical examination and testing required
- access an essential health service for treatment that cannot wait until after your self-isolation has finished
- move to another place of self-isolation to preserve your own or another person’s life, health, or safety
- exercise outdoors in the neighbourhood you’re staying in – do not use any shared exercise facility, such as a swimming pool
- visit a dying relative who is not expected to live beyond your period of self-isolation
- visit the body of a relative before a funeral or tangihanga if you are unable to visit the body after your period of self-isolation.
2. Contact trace
Tell people you have COVID-19
Tell the people you’re staying with, your accommodation provider, people you’ve spent time with, and any other close contacts that you have COVID-19.
Fill in the online contact tracing form
Complete the Ministry of Health’s contact tracing form using the 6-digit access code you received in the text message from the official 2328 or 2648 numbers. it will take 5 to 10 minutes to complete.
3. Getting support
If you need food or medicines
If you need food or essential supplies while isolating, ask family or friends to drop these off to you. You can also order supplies online and arrange for contactless delivery.
If you need health advice
If you need advice on how to treat your symptoms or have worsening symptoms, call Healthline. You can request interpreting services.
- 0800 358 5453 — from a New Zealand phone number
- +64 9 358 5453 — from an International SIM
If you need medical care
You may have to pay for medical treatment. We encourage visitors to buy comprehensive travel insurance before travelling.
If you are an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident or are a citizen of the United Kingdom, there is a reciprocal health agreement that means you pay what New Zealanders pay for healthcare.
Your Embassy may be able to help
Consider contacting your Embassy, Consulate or High Commission if you go into hospital or require consular assistance.
Foreign embassies in NZ | Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
In an emergency
If you need urgent medical help, call 111 immediately. Tell them you have COVID-19 when you call. This can include if you or someone you care for has:
- difficulty breathing
- severe chest pain
- fainting or becomes unconscious.
4. Ending self-isolation
You can end your self-isolation after 7 days
If you’re still unwell, stay in your accommodation until 24 hours after you no longer have symptoms.
You do not need to wait for an official message to leave isolation.
You do not need to be tested – the result would likely be positive but that does not mean you are infectious.
After you’ve recovered
After you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and left isolation, there are a few things you should do and be mindful of in your recovery.
Before you travel home or to another destination
Check if you need to provide a negative COVID-19 test, or a medical certificate confirming you have recovered before you travel. If you have recently recovered from COVID-19, your test may show a positive result.
If you test negative
If you test negative but have COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home, and take another RAT 48 hours later. If your symptoms get worse, call Healthline on:
It is possible for someone with COVID-19 to get a negative RAT result. This can be because there was not enough virus in the sample, or because the test was not carried out correctly.