COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to many other illnesses, such as the flu. They include a cough, sore throat, high temperature, shortness of breath or a runny nose.

COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature of at least 38°C
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sneezing and runny nose 
  • temporary loss of smell.

These symptoms don't necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

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

Time for symptoms to appear

We don’t yet know how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected, but current World Health Organization assessments suggest that it's 2 to 10 days.

If you have any symptoms

Talk to a health professional

If you have these symptoms immediately call:

  • Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453
  • your doctor, or
  • you iwi health provider.

A health professional will advise whether you fit the criteria for testing. Call your doctor before visiting if you have any symptoms.

COVID-19 is contained in New Zealand and there is no community transmission. At this stage, our greatest risk of COVID-19 is via our border. Let your health professional know if you have travelled internationally in the past 14 days, or if you have been in contact with a confirmed or probable case.

If you're outside New Zealand call +64 9 358 5453 or your doctor.

While you have symptoms

  • If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
  • If you have cold or flu symptoms call your doctor or Healthline and check if you should get tested.
  • Wash your hands. 
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, and regularly disinfect shared surfaces.
  • If you are told by health authorities to self-isolate you must do so immediately. If you are awaiting test results you must also self-isolate. 

Information about testing for COVID-19

COVID-19 is spread by droplets

Like the flu, COVID-19 is spread by droplets from person to person. Good hygiene can prevent its spread.

People can catch the virus through their eyes, nose or mouth.

The scientific evidence proves that COVID-19 is spread by droplets. When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may spread droplets containing the virus. These droplets are too large to stay in the air for long, so they quickly settle on surrounding surfaces.

People may get infected by the virus if they touch those surfaces or objects, and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes. 

That’s why it’s really important to use good hygiene, at any time. 

  • Regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow 
  • Clean or disinfect shared surfaces regularly
  • If you have cold or flu symptoms stay home and call your doctor or Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.

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