Information for close contacts

You are a close contact if you live with someone with COVID-19 and/or have been at a location of interest at the same time as a confirmed COVID-19 case.

If you are a close contact you will need to get tested, isolate away from others immediately, and stay in self-isolation for a minimum of 14 days. This means you must not leave your house for any reason, except for getting a test. You should not go to the pharmacy, supermarket or make any other stops. If you need to access food or other essential items, advice can be found here: Access to food or essential items.

  • You cannot go for your COVID-19 vaccination until you have been released from self-isolation and have returned all negative test results. 
  • The people you live with must also stay in self-isolation until you have returned a first negative test result. Then they can go for a vaccination.

ADVICE for Close Contacts

All close contacts are required to self-isolate at home for the full 14 day self-isolation period AND until Public Health clears you to leave.

  • When isolating at home, please stay away from others as much as possible as you may be infectious.
  • If you develop symptoms, everyone living in your home will have to stay in self-isolation until your Day 5 test result comes back negative.
  • Even if you leave to go into a managed isolation facility, your household members will still have to stay home until you have your Day 5 negative result.
  • If anyone in the household has symptoms, they should stay in self-isolation, and you should seek advice from the Public Health team who rings you for your regular check.

 You must get tested.

  • As a close contact, you will need to be tested for COVID-19 immediately, and then five days and 12 days after you were LAST exposed to that person.
  • If you develop symptoms, you will need to have additional tests.
  • Tests are free, even if you are not a NZ citizen or resident.
  • Even if your test result is negative (did not detect COVID-19), you must continue to stay at home for the full self-isolation period.
  • You can get a COVID-19 test from your family doctor, urgent care centre or community testing centre. Find your nearest testing centre here.

Factsheet for close contacts

Click here to go back to COVID-19 summary

What it means to self-isolate at home:

  • You should not leave the house for any reason while you are awaiting a test result or are self-isolating, until you receive a negative test result or until you’re cleared by public health staff.
  • You cannot get vaccinated whilst you are self-isolating.  If you have a vaccine appointment scheduled either ring the vaccine booking line or go online to change your vaccination booking.
  • You should not go the pharmacy, supermarket or make any other stops in public while you are self-isolating.
  • You should not go to work or school. If you are unable to work from home during this time, your employer (or you, if you are self-employed) may be able to apply for leave support to help support you. For more information visit the Work and Income website.
  • You should maintain a 2-metre distance from your household members and should not share a bed or bedroom with any member of your household
  • It is important that you do not use public transport, taxis or similar transport methods
  • You should not have visitors in your home (including tradespeople)
  • Where possible, ask friends or family to shop for you. If this is not possible, order supplies online. Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect. If you need assistance, the Ministry of Social Development has information about where you can go for services and support, what you can get help with, and contact information. Visit the Ministry of Social Development website.
  • Minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms as much as possible and keep shared spaces well ventilated
  • If you need medical assistance, call ahead to your health provider and tell them you are a Close Contact. Clean your hands with hand sanitiser and put on a face mask before you enter any healthcare facility.

If you are a Close Contact and have, or later develop, any COVID-19 symptoms the people in your immediate household should stay at home until you receive a negative test result; public health officials will provide you with further advice. 



If your test shows that you have COVID-19, or you get sick, we ask you to move to a managed isolation facility (MIFQ). 

Even if you are not sick, it may be better for you to go into a managed isolation facility.
We may suggest you and your family stay in this facility as -

  • You will have free access to medical staff onsite
  • You are less likely to spread the virus to other household members
  • You will have essentials such as meals and wifi provided
  • You will get the support you need
  • Your household members may be able to return to work and school faster than if you had stayed at home with them.

Please discuss with the public health team whether you should bring immediate family members, e.g.  children with you.

The managed isolation facility will tell you when you should arrive, please do not arrive unexpectedly.  You will receive a pick up time, if transport is arranged for you and your family. This gives you time to make arrangements for others staying at home or for pets to be cared for.

When on site, please follow the instructions of the staff.

If you or your family become unwell, call your local doctor or free phone Healthline: 0800 358 5453, available 24 hours, 7 days a week, and interpreters are available.

Tell them you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to common illnesses such as a cold or influenza. You may have one or more of the following:

  • a new or worsening cough
  • fever (at least 38˚C)
  • shortness of breath
  • a sore throat
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • temporary loss of smell.

Some people may have less typical symptoms such as only: fever, diarrhoea, headache, muscle pain, nausea/vomiting, or confusion/irritability.

Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

If you become severely unwell or have difficulty breathing, immediately call an ambulance on 111 and tell them you are a close contact of someone confirmed as having COVID-19.

Last updated 3.9.2021

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