Self-isolation advice if you're unwell

It's critical you stay home and recover

Self-isolation means staying at home. The Government has asked all people in New Zealand to stay at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

If you have COVID-19, or if you're feeling unwell, it’s critical you stay at home and recover. 

Read advice for Self-isolation

Limit contact with others you live with 

Take common sense precautions to avoid close contact with those you live with. Everybody you live with must stay at home.

Housemates with symptoms

If somebody you live with develops symptoms of COVID-19 like a cough, fever, shortness of breath, sneezing or a runny nose, they should call their regular doctor.  

If they do not have a regular doctor they can call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453.

Sleeping arrangements 

If you’re unwell, you should not be sharing a bed with others. Speak with your family and whānau about sleeping arrangements. Avoid sleeping in a common area until you’re feeling better.

Aim to stay in a well-ventilated room with a window that can be opened. Try to keep the window open as much as possible to enable ventilation and airflow as this will help to keep clean air moving through your room. 

Shared living rooms 

Minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms as much as possible and keep shared spaces clean and well ventilated.  

Clean regularly 

Clean surfaces with disinfectant after you use them. Try to avoid touching them after you have cleaned them. This includes areas like kitchen benches and sinktops. 

Shared bathrooms 

If you use a shared toilet and bathroom, it’s important that you clean them after you have used them every time (for example, wiping surfaces you have come into contact with). It is a good idea to be the last to use the shower/bath in the morning or evening to make this easier on those you live with. You should use your own roll of toilet paper, hand towels, toothpaste and other supplies during your stay at home. 

Shared kitchens 

If you share a kitchen with others, avoid using it while others are present. Take your meals back to your room to eat. It may be easier for someone else in your household to prepare your food and you avoid the kitchen area. 

If you have one, use a dishwasher to clean and dry your used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly, remembering to use a separate tea towel. 

We understand that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face and clean frequently touched surfaces. 

Items you shouldn’t share  

Don’t share dishes, drinking glasses, cups or eating utensils with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water, place them in the dishwasher for cleaning, or wash them in the sink.

Use your own toothbrushes, towels, washcloths or bed linen.  

Do not share food and drinks. Someone in your home can prepare your food, but you should not prepare food for others. Wash your clothing and dishes separate to others in your home. 


Make sure you use separate towels from other people in your house, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes. Ask your family and whānau or the people you live with to use their own towels and keep them separate. 


There is currently no clinical evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted through breast milk.  

Infection can be spread to the baby in the same way as to anyone in close contact with you. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breast milk or by being in close contact with your child. 

If you wish to breastfeed, take precautions to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 to the baby by: 

  • washing your hands before touching the baby, breast pump or bottles 
  • avoiding coughing or sneezing on the baby while feeding at the breast 
  • cleaning any breast pump as recommended by the manufacturer after each use 
  • considering asking someone who is well to feed your expressed breast milk to the baby. 

If you are feeding with formula or expressed milk, sterilise the equipment carefully before each use. You should not share bottles or a breast pump with someone else. 

Don’t have visitors in your home 

All people in New Zealand have been asked to stay at home. Don’t invite or allow social visitors, such as friends, family and whānau, to enter your home. If you want to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, use the phone or other means of contact. 

You should not have visitors to your home, but it is okay for friends, family, whānau or delivery drivers to drop off food and supplies. Ask them to leave items at the door.  


You should do your own laundry. 

Dirty laundry that has been in contact with a sick person can be washed with other people’s items. 

Do not shake dirty laundry; this minimises the possibility of dispersing the virus. It may be easier for someone else to fold and put away clean laundry items (such as towels and tea towels) and provide a supply for you.  

If you do not have a washing machine, wait until you’ve recovered and the isolation period has ended before taking your laundry to a laundrette. 

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