Government actions

The Government has a range of actions including the Alert System, border restrictions and testing.

Our Alert System

The Alert System was introduced by the government in March 2020 to manage and minimise the risk of COVID-19 in New Zealand. The system helps people understand the current level of risk and the restrictions that must be followed. 

The system helps us to stop the spread of COVID-19, with different measures at each Alert Level.

Alert System overview

Keeping COVID-19 out


Border entry measures are in place to minimise the risk of importing COVID-19 cases.

The border is closed, except for New Zealand citizens and residents, and a small number of limited exceptions — such as critical workers. Exemptions are managed by Immigration New Zealand (external link).

Border closures and exceptions (external link)

Anyone returning to New Zealand from overseas must complete 14 days in managed-isolation before returning to the community.

Arriving back in New Zealand


Keeping COVID-19 out means we need to identify any cases if they emerge.

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.

Other people with COVID-19 symptoms may also be tested. This is to help ensure that we don’t have community transmission in New Zealand.

Our approach to testing

Other initiatives

International visas

Several visa categories were automatically extended to 25 September 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 and challenge for people returning home.

Work, student, visitor, limited or interim visas that expired between 2 April and 9 July 2020 were automatically extended if the person was in New Zealand on 2 April.

Confirmation of these extensions and what it means have been emailed to visa holders.

Immigration changes due to COVID-19 (external link)

Driver licences, warrants of fitness and certificates of fitness

All driver licences, WoFs, CoFs and some vehicle certifications that expired on or after 1 January 2020 are valid for up to 6 months from 10 April 2020.

This recognises that during Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 3, through no fault of their own, many New Zealanders were unable to keep these documents up to date.

This extension allows vehicle users extra time to allow them to get up to date. All vehicle inspection sites are now open and to ensure your vehicle remains safe to use, you should renew your WoF or CoF as soon as possible.

School exams

NCEA exams were delayed to provide students more time to prepare for end of year assessments.

External NCEA examinations and New Zealand Scholarship examinations have moved from 6 November to 16 November, allowing another week for teaching, learning and internal assessment in Term 4.

The submission date for subjects which require students to submit a portfolio, such as Design and Visual Communication, has moved from from 28 October to 12 November 2020, giving students more time to prepare.

The requirement for NZQA verification of Level 1 and 2 Visual Arts portfolios has been waived, allowing students more time to complete their portfolios and teachers more time for marking.

Further information from the Ministry of Education (external link)

Jobs, training and financial support

If you have lost your job, or want a change in career, there are many industries that need people to keep New Zealand moving.

Keep NZ working

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