Covid-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a recently discovered coronavirus.

The most common symptoms include a fever, tiredness and a dry cough, and sometimes difficulty breathing.  Difficulty in breathing is a possible sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention. Some people may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, a runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. However, some people who become infected don't develop any symptoms or feel unwell. The severity of Covid-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe.

How is the Covid-19 virus spread?
It is spread by droplets from infected people who cough or sneeze or otherwise expel them from their nose or mouth onto you or nearby surfaces. You don’t have to be around an infected person to get infected yourself. It can happen through touching a surface with the virus droplets on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. Viruses can stay alive on surfaces for at least several hours or longer.  

Therefore it is important to do the following: To stop the spread of COVID-19 we ask you to: 

  • Practice good hand hygiene – that is, washing hands regularly with soap and water, or cleansing with hand sanitiser. 
    Washing for 20 seconds is advised.

  • Cough or sneeze into tissues or elbows, not onto other people or surfaces. 

  • Avoid touching your face, especially mouth, eyes and nose. 

  • Avoid shaking hands or unnecessary contact. 

  • Practise social distancing – at least 1.5 metres from other people. 

What to do if you think you might be experiencing symptoms (this is information for New Zealand only)


  • Firstly call Healthline 0800 358 5453

  • Then if you need to, phone your GP’s clinic.

  • Do NOT just turn up unannounced at your doctor’s surgery. You MUST phone first. 

How to self-isolate

The viral incubation period, that is time between catching the virus and showing symptoms, ranges between 1-14 days. That is why people entering the country for example are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days. 

Self-isolation means staying away from situations where you could infect other people. This means any situation where you may come in close contact with others (face to face contact closer than 1 .5 metres for more than 15 minutes). You can have other family members in your home, but do not share dishes, cups, cutlery, linen etc. It is OK to go for a walk, bike ride etc outside, but stay at a distance from others. Other family members may need to self-isolate too. 

We need to take all this advice seriously, but do not panic! Seek help and advice if you need to. But remember also: Globally, only about 3.4 per cent of reported Covid-19 cases have died (WHO figures). 

For More information:  An easy-to-use web site:

Covid-19 Information