If you test positive for COVID-19 while travelling away from home

You may get COVID-19 while you are away from home. If you test positive or find out you are a contact of a positive case while travelling, here is what you need to know.

Be prepared

While vaccination is highly effective, it is still possible to get COVID-19. You may get it while you are away from home on holiday or for work, even if you are following the rules. You should prepare for what you may need to do if this happens.

Make a plan for how to get home to isolate if you get COVID-19, if you can travel there safely. You will only be able to return home if you or someone you are travelling with are able to drive.

You will need to make as few stops as possible, so you will need to think about:

  • the route you might take
  • how you would get fuel — you should only stop at a contactless petrol station
  • supplies you might need for the journey home to reduce the number of stops you make, including supplies to treat COVID-19 symptoms.

The people you are travelling with, whether it is friends or whānau, will need to be prepared for what might happen. You should talk through the plan together.

If you have travelled to your destination on public transport, for example ferry or plane, it is likely you will need to stay at that location for your isolation period.

If you get symptoms, get tested immediately

Common symptoms of COVID-19 are like those found with illnesses such as a cold or flu. If you have these symptoms when you are on holiday or away from home, it is important that you get tested immediately. Do not wait until you get home to get tested.

If you become unwell or have been exposed to COVID-19 while you are away from home, you should:

  • call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing and what to do
  • isolate at your accommodation if you are symptomatic, until you get your test result.

Find a COVID-19 testing location | healthpoint.co.nz (external link)

COVID-19 symptoms

Close Contacts

Casual and Casual Plus Contacts

Many testing centres will be closed on public holidays.

Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or check Healthpoint for testing centre opening hours.

Find a COVID-19 testing location | healthpoint.co.nz (external link)

If you test positive

A health professional will be in contact with you. You will be able to discuss with them what you need to do and whether it is safe for you to travel home.

You will not be able to:

  • take a commercial flight home
  • do any long-distance road travel that requires an overnight stay
  • take an interisland ferry or public transport.

If you need urgent medical help or are having difficulties breathing, call 111 immediately. Tell them you have COVID-19.

If you test positive for COVID-19

Tell your accommodation provider

You will need to tell the owner or operator of your holiday accommodation whether you are a contact of a case or if you have tested positive. This will allow them to make sure the property is safe for the next booking.

If you are a contact and your test is negative, you should tell your accommodation provider you are not a COVID-19 case.

If you are unable to get home

If you are travelling around the country, there is a risk that you may not be able to return safely to your home to isolate. You will have to remain in place. You will still have support available to isolate as part of the Care in the Community programme.

If you are unable to get home, you will need to think about:

  • getting someone to look after your house
  • care for your pets
  • taking things with you to help with boredom while isolating
  • making sure you have enough money to cover an extended time away from home
  • have a list of medical information — include everyone’s names, ages, NHI numbers, any medical conditions, and medication or medical supplies each person needs.

If you are unable to return home safely and you can isolate at your accommodation, you will need to follow the self-isolation guidelines:

What to expect from self-isolation

If it is safe for you to return home

You will only be able to return home if you or someone you are travelling with are able to drive.

You must not use public transport or undertake any long-distance road travel that requires an overnight stay or interisland travel.

You must drive directly to your home, making as few stops as possible. You need to minimise your contact with others.

Remember to:

  • scan everywhere you go
  • wear a face mask when not in the car
  • maintain physical distancing in public spaces.

If you are borrowing or renting a car, you will need to tell the car owner or rental service so they can clean the vehicle thoroughly afterwards.

Once you are home, a health professional will tell you what to do, and you will be able to follow the self-isolation guidance.

Anyone travelling with you is a close contact and will need to know what to do:

What to expect from self-isolation

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