COVID-19 testing

If you have cold or flu symptoms, you should call your doctor, iwi health provider or Healthline. They will let you know if you should have a COVID-19 test.

At Level 1, 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. Testing is prioritised for people who are most likely to have COVID-19. 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.

Current testing

Testing continues to help us eliminate COVID-19 in New Zealand.

The highest priority for testing is to test people who are symptomatic and have:

  • been in contact with a confirmed or probable case
  • travelled internationally in the past 14 days
  • had direct contact with a person who has travelled overseas (this could include Customs, Immigrationm and Managed Isolation and Quarantine staff)
  • worked on an international aircraft or shipping vessel
  • cleaned at an international airport or maritime port in areas visited by international arrivals.

Others presenting to health services with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 may also be tested to help ensure that we don’t have community transmission in New Zealand.

Testing helps us:

  • identify cases of COVID-19
  • manage clusters of cases if we find them
  • track how well our efforts are working. 

Getting a test

Getting tested early helps protect those around you and helps New Zealand recover.

If you have cold or flu symptoms, please call:

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

A health professional will let you know the next steps and whether you should get a test.

How testing works

There's more than one way to test for COVID-19, for example, a nose swab or a sputum test. Whatever form a test takes, it involves collecting a sample from you. That sample goes to a lab to be analysed. The lab results may take some time.

When you are tested you will be told when and how to expect your results. Whether you test positive or negative, you will be notified about your results. While you wait for your results you may be advised to self-isolate. Your medical professional will advise you on this.

If you are tested you should follow the advice you're given about what to do next.

Help protect healthcare workers when getting tested

If you get tested, we need your help to keep healthcare workers safe. That means continuing to cough into your elbow, cover any sneezes and staying 2 metres away from other people wherever possible.

Follow any instructions you get, like turning up on time, calling ahead or waiting in your car. 

People testing you will wear protective equipment likes gowns or masks — this is nothing to worry about, it helps protect them and everyone they are testing.

If you test positive

Our health system will continue to support anyone who tests positive for COVID-19.

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, medical professionals will advise you on what you need to do.

For most people, this will mean self-isolating at home.


Health agencies will identify and contact trace anyone that you have come into close contact with.

Contact tracing

Recovering from COVID-19

To be recovered from COVID-19, you must meet the following criteria:

  • It must have been at least 10 days since you got your symptoms.
  • After the 10 days, you need to have been clear of all symptoms for 48 hours.

If you were hospitalised, it must be at least 10 days after you are discharged from the hospital and you must be clear of all symptoms for 48 hours.

Testing data in New Zealand

The Ministry of Health is still recording testing data by region and by ethnicity within regions. This helps us ensure we have an accurate picture of any future spread of COVID-19 and can respond in the best way. It also helps to keep track of who is being tested, including vulnerable communities or at-risk groups with underlying health conditions.

COVID-19 data

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