Current status

There are no confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in New Zealand to date but the likelihood of importing a case is high. The risk of an ongoing outbreak in New Zealand remains low, but the Ministry of Health is monitoring the situation closely. If any public health measures are needed for this virus, we will advise.

Change to case definition

The travel history will now include those who have been in mainland China, within the last 14 days. Previously it only included people who had travelled to and from Hubei province in China, particularly Wuhan.

Travel advisory update

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) have updated their travel advisory and now recommend that New Zealanders do not travel to any part of mainland China.

In order to reduce the chances of 2019-nCoV spreading within New Zealand, additional border measures have been implemented, with effect from midnight on 2 February 2020.

These measures will deny entry to New Zealand for anyone who has left or transited through mainland China after midnight on 2 February 2020, with the exception of:

  • New Zealand citizens (including those from the three Countries of the Realm: Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands), permanent residents and their immediate family
  • Air crews on direct flights from mainland China who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

This also applies to passengers who are transiting through New Zealand, unless they are New Zealand citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families.

Aircrew who have been in or who disembarked in China after midnight on 2 February will need to self-isolate.

We are specifically considering the situation for Pacific Island nationals returning from mainland China via Auckland Airport.

People who departed from mainland China before midnight 2 February are not required to self-isolate unless they have been in Wuhan City or Hubei Province in the last 14 days.

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.

If you are unsure if you should be self-isolating, please contact Healthline for free on 0800 611 116.

Ministry of Health resources

Questions and Answers

The Ministry has developed a novel coronavirus question and answers page. As the situation regarding novel coronavirus can evolve rapidly, the questions and answers page will be updated with the latest information.

Resources for Health professionals & primary care

We are currently updating our resources for health care professionals following the change to the case definition.

The Interim Advice for Health Professionals & Interim Advice for Primary Health Professionals have been updated with the latest information. It provides health professionals, including hospital-based, community-based and public health practitioners, with information on how to identify and investigate any cases of novel coronavirus, as well as how to apply appropriate contact tracing and infection control measures to prevent its spread.

The Ministry has also developed further materials to support primary care. It includes:

Updated factsheet for travellers

The information for travellers arriving into New Zealand has been updated with the latest information. It is available in English (PDF, 111 KB) and simplified Chinese (PDF, 141 KB).

Health advice

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms of 2019-nCoV are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have 2019-nCoV.

Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing can be a sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

We don’t yet know how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected, but current WHO assessments suggest that it is 2-10 days.

What do I do if I am sick right now?

If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing please telephone Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116.

Download the latest health advice


Treatment

As this is a new virus, there is currently no vaccine available

If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing please telephone Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116.


Advice for travellers

WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers but is continuing to review the situation.

WHO advises people follow the basic principles to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infection. These are:

  • avoid close contact with people suffering acute respiratory infections
  • wash hands frequently, especially after contact with ill people or their environment
  • avoid close contact with sick farm animals or wild animals
  • people with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette:
    • maintain distance
    • cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing
    • wash hands.

As always, travellers who become sick within a month of their arrival are encouraged to seek medical advice and contact Healthline (for free) 0800 611 116 or a doctor. It is important to mention recent travel to mainland China, and any known contact with someone with severe acute respiratory illness who has been in mainland China.

Travellers recently returned from mainland China

Recognising the evolving nature of the evidence and data for transmission of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Health advice for people who have travelled to New Zealand from mainland China either directly, or via another country within the last 14 days after leaving mainland China.

This means you should avoid situations that could facilitate the transmission of the virus such as social gatherings and events where you come into contact with others; in particular child care/pre-school centres, primary and secondary schools (including staff and students), aged care, health care facilities, prisons, public gatherings.

People who have had close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case

If have been in close contact with a confirmed novel coronavirus case you should self-isolate for 14 days. If you develop symptoms including fever, coughing and difficulty breathing you should ring Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116 or your doctor.

This means you should avoid situations that could facilitate the transmission of the virus such as social gatherings and events where you come into contact with others in particular, child care/pre-school centres, primary and secondary schools (including staff and students), aged care, health care facilities, prisons, public gatherings.

We are closely monitoring the development of cases outside of mainland China and will regularly update this advice.

Health advice cards in both traditional and simplified Chinese are available at international points of entry. These cards provide general advice on symptoms of concern and advise ill travellers to call Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116 and mention their travel history. Healthline has been informed and will continue to triage any symptomatic callers.

With the support of New Zealand Customs, banners have been developed for points of entry in traditional and simplified Chinese to draw attention to the health advice cards.

For more information see our factsheet:


What is novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses which includes the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

In January 2020, officials identified a new coronavirus called novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.

We don’t know yet how 2019-nCoV is transmitted to people, but it’s likely that it comes from an animal. A live animal market in Wuhan is suspected as the original source, but that hasn’t been confirmed. There is evidence that 2019-nCoV can spread from person to person in the community and in health care settings. There have been cases of 2019-nCoV reported in some other Chinese provinces and countries. Some of these cases have no history of travel to Wuhan.

World Health Organization (WHO) public health emergency declaration

On January 31 2020 the third meeting of the ad hoc Emergency Committee (the Committee) was convened by WHO on the basis of the Committee’s advice, regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV. The WHO Director-General has declared the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

New Zealand’s current and planned preparedness and response activities for novel coronavirus are all consistent with the advice from WHO. It is important to note that as the situation continues to evolve, so will the strategic goals and measures to prevent and reduce spread of the infection.

History of 2019-nCoV

On 31 December 2019, China advised the World Health Organization (WHO) of a viral respiratory illness in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Many initial cases involved people who worked at or were handlers and frequent visitors to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market has been temporarily closed to carry out environmental sanitation and disinfection.

On 7 January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed the identification of a new type of coronavirus now known as 2019-nCoV. Laboratory testing ruled out other respiratory pathogens such as influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV ) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV ).

2019-nCoV has not previously been detected in humans or animals.

Further information and resources

World Health Organization

  • WHO website for situation updates and the latest advice.

Border control background information

Posters