How to self-isolate

What you can do when self-isolating, including reasons you are permitted to leave self-isolation.

What to do when self-isolating

If you have COVID-19 you must self-isolate for 7 days.

Day 0 is the day your symptoms started or when you tested positive, whichever came first.

Use the COVID-19 Health Hub to work out your isolation timeline: 

Create your isolation timeline (external link)

  • Stay at home — do not go to work, school or any public places.
  • Avoid contact with people in your household. For example, sleep by yourself if you can, and limit the time you spend in shared spaces. If you cannot, stay at least 2 metres apart and wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth when near others.
  • You can exercise outdoors in your neighbourhood. Do not visit any shared exercise facility, such as a swimming pool.
  • You can get deliveries, such as food and medicine from whānau and friends or by ordering supplies online. Identify a safe drop-off point outside the house to leave supplies.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly. This includes things you touch often, like door handles, light switches and phones.
  • Do your own laundry.

You cannot end your self-isolation early, even if a later test is negative during the 7 days.


Open windows to increase fresh air flow inside. The risk of spreading COVID-19 is highest in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

Ventilation and COVID-19


You can download and print posters for your home to tell people you are self-isolating:

We are self-isolating poster [PDF, 88 KB]

What not to do when self-isolating

  • Do not leave the house for any reason, unless it is a permitted reason — such as urgent medical care or exercising. If you cannot work from home during this time, your employer (or you, if you are self-employed) may be able to apply for leave support.
  • Do not prepare food for others.
  • Do not share items with people in your household. For example, dishes, toothbrushes and towels.
  • Do not have visitors. This includes tradespeople, unless it is an emergency. If you have a support carer, they can continue to provide essential care.
  • If you are unwell and have symptoms, do not do strenuous, high-impact exercise. Stick to gentle, familiar exercise.
  • Do not get a COVID-19 vaccination until you have recovered.

Permitted reasons to leave self-isolation

You are allowed to leave the place you are self-isolating for the following reasons. You must always wear a mask. Do not use public transport, taxis or rideshare vehicles.

You can:

  • have any medical examination and testing required
  • access essential health services for treatment that cannot wait until you finish self-isolation
  • attend any court, tribunal, New Zealand Parole Board hearing or other judicial institution you are required to attend
  • move to another place of self-isolation to protect your own or another person’s life, health, or safety
  • visit a dying relative who is not expected to live beyond your self-isolation
  • visit the body of a relative before a funeral or tangihanga, if you will not be able to visit the body after your self-isolation.


You are allowed to exercise outside your home while self-isolating. You can exercise in your neighbourhood, but not using any shared facility, such as a swimming pool or gym. You cannot exercise with other people, unless they are part of your household.

Be mindful to:

  • keep your distance from others
  • stick to gentle, familiar exercise — do not do anything risky where you may need rescuing
  • carry a face mask — you do not need to wear a face mask, but you may feel more comfortable doing so.

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