For Casual and Casual-plus contacts of people with COVID-19

If you have been in the same place at the same time as someone with COVID-19, you may be a casual contact, or casual-plus contact.

You are not considered to be at high risk as you have not been identified as having been close enough to the infected person (within two metres) or for long enough. But you do need to:

  • Watch for symptoms, and
  • If you are a Casual-plus contact, stay at home, get a test immediately and on day 5. Stay at home until you get a negative test result.

The Ministry of Health’s Locations of Interest webpage gives advice for Casual and Casual-plus contacts, including when you need to go for a test. Public Health, your workplace or staff from the location you visited may also inform you.

If you are a:

Casual-plus contact: you are at slightly higher risk, so please:

  • Get a COVID-19 test immediately, and 5 days after the day you were last near the person with COVID-19
  • Stay at home until you receive a negative test result (Day 5 or later) and stay separate from others in your household if you can.
  • As you will need to be retested on or after the fifth day you were first exposed to the positive case, check the Locations of Interest page for dates, times and advice about this, or ring Healthline (0800 358 5453).
  • If you develop symptoms, please stay home and call Healthline (0800 358 5453) for advice about whether to get another test.
  • Your household members do not need to stay at home or get tested, unless they are also Casual-plus, Close, or Close-plus contacts, or they develop symptoms.

Casual contact: the risk of getting COVID-19 is low, you do not need to get a test but you should still watch for symptoms and:

  • If you do develop symptoms, stay home and call Healthline (0800 358 5453) for advice about when to go for a test, then, remain at home until you return a negative test result, and until at least 24 hours after your symptoms have stopped.
  • Practise good cough, sneeze and hand hygiene and wear a face mask/covering when out in public.
  • Record where you have been and who you have seen; use the NZ COVID Tracer app to scan in at the places you visit. Or keep a manual record in a notebook or diary.


Even if you are not tested or if your test result is negative, please watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after you were last in the same space as the infected person.

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.

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.

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.

  • Wear a mask or face cover when you are in public, especially if you cannot maintain social distancing.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; throw used  tissues into a lined rubbish bin, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, making sure you dry them thoroughly.
  • You can also use a hand sanitiser if there is no soap and water available.
  • Throughout the day, wash and dry your hands often and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces like kitchen benches and door handles regularly.

Last updated 3.9.2021

MENU menu-arrow
health topics