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What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation means staying at home as a precaution. It’s an effective way to help protect those around you – your family, whānau, friends, colleagues – from COVID-19.  

Who should self-isolate?

Three groups of people should self-isolate

  • Anyone who has returned from overseas travel in the last two weeks should self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Travellers who returned before the official border restrictions were announced should also self-isolate for the balance of the 14 days since their arrival
  • Anyone who has a mild flu-like illness should stay home.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 like a cough, fever, shortness of breath, sneezing or a runny nose, phone your GP (doctor).  

If you do not have a GP call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453.

The basic rules

The basic rules of self-isolation are to stay at home, and take simple common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people. Keep yourself out of any situation where you come into face-to-face contact with others who are less than 2 metres away, or you make any contact that lasts longer than 15 minutes. 

This means you need to sleep in a separate room if you can, use separate towels, do your laundry separately, eat separately and minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms. If you use a shared space in your home, clean it thoroughly afterwards. Carefully wash and dry your used crockery, remembering to use a separate tea towel. 

Don’t prepare food for others or share food and drinks, toothbrushes, towels, washcloths or bed linens.

More information about how to self-isolate is available on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

Ways to get through

  • Plan how you will get access to food and other supplies such as medications.
  • Ask your workplace, friends, family and whānau to help you access the things you will need in advance.
  • If you need supplies while you’re staying at home, ask friends or family and whānau to drop off anything you need, or order supplies online.
  • Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect. Many New Zealand companies are now offering a ‘contactless’ delivery option.
  • If you can, work or study from home.
  • Stay in touch with friends, family and whānau over the phone, or through other means of contact like video or chat services.
  • Join online exercise classes or courses, or go for a walk or do some gardening outside. Be sure to stay 2 metres away from others and limit contact.