What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19. Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing.

 Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

 If you have these symptoms please contact Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 (or international +64 9 358 5453) or your doctor immediately. Call your doctor before visiting.

What does Alert Level 4 mean?

New Zealand is now at Alert Level 4.

 This will save lives. You must stay home.

Level 4 measures include:

  • anyone not involved in essential work, needs to stay at home
  • educational facilities are now closed
  • businesses are closed, except for essential services like supermarkets, pharmacies and clinics, and lifeline utilities.

You must reside at the same place for the duration of the time New Zealand is at Alert Level 4. Where you stayed on the evening of Wednesday 25 March is where you must remain.

You must only be in physical contact with those you are living with.

It is likely Level 4 measures will stay in place for a number of weeks.

Remember, what you do now, will affect all of us.

Why is this happening?

At Level 4, the aim is to stop and eradicate COVID-19. Eradicating the disease is vital to protect people’s health and ensure our health system can cope and look after New Zealanders who become sick. Staying at home is essential – it is a simple but highly effective way to constrain the virus. It will help give our healthcare system a fighting chance.

If you don’t follow these rules, and you visit a friend’s house or see a family member for lunch, you risk spreading COVID-19 and extending everyone’s time in isolation at Level 4.

We have a window of opportunity and we need your support to protect New Zealand and eradicate COVID-19.

Why has a state of national emergency been declared?

A state of national emergency has been declared because of the unprecedented nature of this global pandemic, and to ensure the Government has all the powers it needs to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce its impact.

The state of national emergency declaration allows the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management to direct and coordinate personnel, material and other resources made available, and provides access to powers that would not normally be available, but will be needed to manage the ongoing response. This is an enhancement to the current COVID-19 response arrangements.

Read more on the State of national emergency page

Can I leave my house?

You should stay at home as much as possible, except for going for a walk or picking up essentials. You should not enter other people’s houses or arrange meetings in public places.

If you leave your home, keep a 2-metre distance from other people at all times. When you return home from being in public, thoroughly wash your hands. Stopping physical contact with people outside your household is the single most important thing we can do right now to stop further community transmission.

Be kind. People may want to act as enforcers of others, but report any concerns to the correct authorities by calling Police on 105 or filling out their online form.

Online form on the Police 105 website(external link)(external link)(external link)

See more information on staying at home

If you have recently returned from overseas, are displaying symptoms or have been tested for COVID-19, you must instead self-isolate and should not leave your house.

See more information on self-isolation

Can I use my car?

Using private vehicles for transport is allowed. You can only travel if you’re accessing essential services or if you’re an essential worker travelling to, from or as part of your essential work. You should only travel in your car with people from your household.

Personal walks and other active travel like cycling or scootering, is fine, provided you keep a 2-metre distance from anybody outside of your household. Stick to simple outdoor exercise and avoid areas where you can get injured or lost. It’s important the emergency services remain available to support the response to COVID-19.

Remember, any unnecessary travel may spread COVID-19.

Will public transport continue?

We are asking everyone to stop their movement to help us eliminate COVID-19.

Public transport and domestic air travel is restricted to those involved in essential services, medical reasons and freight.

International air travel is permitted in some cases for people to leave the country and to get home to self-isolate.

Ferry services, road and rail will continue to transport essential goods.

Driving in private vehicles is allowed, but only with people in your household who you are self-isolating with.

Information and advice for travellers

How can I report a breach of the Level 4 restrictions?

If you have concerns about a gathering of people, a non-essential shop or service that is open, anyone who is not self-isolating as required, or an event that breaches the criteria, you can report it to Police online at www.105.police.govt.nz. Do not ring 105. Reports will be prioritised based on risk.

Where can I get financial support?

The Government is acting to support people in New Zealand through these changes with a $16.1 billion package that includes:

  • a wage subsidy scheme (previous cap of $150,000 per business removed)
  • leave and self-isolation support
  • business cash flow and tax measures
  • mortgage repayment holiday scheme for 6 months – via retail banks
  • business finance guarantee scheme.

Your usual financial support, such as benefits, will continue.

Find out more about COVID-19 support on the Work and Income website

How can I get food and supplies at Alert Level 4?

Essential services remain open at all Alert Levels. This includes supermarkets, banks, GPs, pharmacies, service stations, couriers and other important frontline service providers.

You can arrange to have your shopping delivered, or have family, friends or neighbours drop off food or groceries. You just need to ask them to leave these at the door, rather than come in. Drop offs at the door (rather than coming in) will protect them from exposure to COVID-19.

If visiting a store in person, you must retain social distancing of 2 metres, and wash your hands before and after visiting.

Can I buy alcohol?

Alcohol is available to be purchased in supermarkets, and Licensing Trust liquor stores (open liquor store premises in a Licencing Trust areas can only operate with a one-in-one-out rule).

All other Liquor stores must be closed to the public.

The online sale and contactless delivery of alcohol (including spirits) is permitted under the following conditions:

  • You must hold an off-license with an endorsement for remote sales under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act. You must comply with requirements of your license
  • The agreed quantity for spirits purchased must be no more than the customs/duty free allowance which is 3 bottles (or other containers) of spirits or liqueur (each bottle or container can hold a maximum of 1.125 litres) per order.

Can children in shared custody go between households?

The best thing everyone can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay at home. This includes parents with shared custody arrangements, and their children. The Principal Family Court Judge has released guidance for parents with shared custody arrangements. 

Generally, whose parents live within an hour’s drive of each other can continue to go between their homes. Simple precautions should be taken to protect the health of parents and children. This includes parents from different households keeping a distance of more than 2 metres.

If parents are more than an hour’s drive away, then the children should stay in one home. Children should also stay in one home if they’re feeling unwell, or if someone in their home is unwell or has been overseas in the last 14 days. This will protect the health of parents, caregivers and children.

More information is available on the Ministry of Justice website

What are essential services?

Essential services include food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support. All of these things will continue to be available at all Alert Levels.

More information about essential businesses

I’m an essential worker. Should I wear personal protective equipment?

As an essential worker you are playing a vital role in keeping New Zealand running during Alert Level 4.

You may also be wondering if you need to be using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in order to keep yourself safe during this time.

The Ministry of Health has put together some tips for while you’re at work and at home. These are the most effective measures to protect you and those you live with.

Read about PPE for essential workers

The most important thing for you to know is that basic hygiene measures are the best defence against COVID-19.

If you are unwell, you must not go to work, and must not return to work unless you are symptom free for 48 hours. Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor if you feel unwell.

I’m feeling stressed, who can I talk to?

If over the following days and weeks you feel you are not coping, it’s important to seek help and professional support. Your family doctor is a good starting point.

For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can also call or text the ‘Need to talk?’ service on 1737. This service is free, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and gives you the chance to talk it through with a trained counsellor.

Can I get a tradesperson to do essential maintenance on my house?

You can have a tradesperson come to your house to do urgent maintenance. The work must be essential to maintaining the necessities of life, or critical to safety. This includes electricians, plumbers and builders.

Find more information on the Building Performance website

From the official Government Website.