The facts about COVID-19 coronavirus
How it spreads
COVID-19, like the flu, can be spread from person to person. When a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or talks, they may spread droplets containing the virus a short distance, which quickly settle on surrounding surfaces.
You may get infected by the virus if you touch those surfaces or objects and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
That’s why it’s really important to use good hygiene, regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands, and use good cough etiquette.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
- Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
- Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or food with sick people.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
- Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have been to any countries or territories of concern or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19.
People returning from any country except those listed in Category 2, or who may have been exposed to COVID-19, are self-isolating to keep their communities safe.
- If you returned from any country in the last 14 days, then you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date of departure.
- If you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date of close contact.
We know from other outbreaks that self-isolation is effective, and most people are good at keeping themselves – and others – safe and well. To find out more, see our Self-isolation resource.
More information for contacts of cases in New Zealand is available at Contact tracing for COVID-19
Dedicated Healthline 0800 number for COVID-19 health advice and information
It is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
People calling that line will be able to talk with a member of the National Telehealth Service. They have access to interpreters.
You should call that dedicated number:
- to register if you have self-isolated yourself
- for any coronavirus health advice and information and any questions you have about coronavirus, self-isolation etc.
Healthline’s main number is still the one to call for non-coronavirus health concerns – 0800 611 116.
Whichever number you call, you will get professional health advice and information.
Currently, there is no specific treatment for coronavirus, but medical care can treat most of the symptoms.
As this is a new virus, there is currently no vaccine available. Researchers are in the early stages of developing one.
Source: Ministry of Health