What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new disease that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus. There are simple steps you can take to protect you and your whānau. 

The symptoms of COVID-19 are: 

  • a cough 
  • a high temperature (at least 38°C) 
  • shortness of breath. 

COVID-19 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 be infected if you touch those surfaces or objects and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes. 

If you think you may have symptoms, call your GP before you visit or call Healthline on 08003 358 5453. 

What you can do to slow the spread

There are some very important and simple measures you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones well. The most useful steps you can take are: 

  • Be kind and check in on others, especially the elderly and people who might be vulnerable. 
  • Wash your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry thoroughly. This kills the virus by bursting its protective bubble. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, or sneeze into your elbow 
  • Avoid person to person contact – hugs, kisses and hongi  
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell. If you take medication, ensure you have adequate supplies. 

We have created some posters and flyers for you to share with your loved ones and wider network so we can all keep each other safe and reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

Please download and share the below:

There are many other ways that you can reduce the impact of COVID-19 on Kiwi communities. Find out more at New Zealand Government's Unite Against COVID-19 website

Now is also a good time to create or update your emergency household plan, and be prepared in case you or your loved ones need to self-isolate. Here are some resources and tips to help you and your family get prepared: find out how you can get your household prepared


Ministry of Health Easy Read Resources

New Zealand Red Cross has translated the Ministry of Health Easy Read Resources available for you to download. Please note these translations have been prepared by the community as part of their response to COVID-19.

Take action early

If you do become unwell, it’s best to stay home and reach out. 

  •  You should contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453, particularly if you have fever cough or difficulty breathing or have recently been to a country of concern.  

Keep in the know and learn more

With so much information available, it can feel overwhelming. You can find regularly updated information and advice from these reliable sources: 

You can also download the Red Cross First Aid app to recieve up-to-date information on COVID-19 provided by the Ministry of Health, straight to your phone.