How to isolate

What you can do when isolating, including advice if you have to leave isolation.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, we recommend you isolate for 5 days, even if you only have mild symptoms, starting at Day 0.

Day 0 is the day your symptoms started or when you tested positive, whichever came first. This means you should not go to work or school.

If you do need to leave your home during your 5 day recommended isolation period, it is very important you take precautions to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others.

You should wear a mask whenever you leave the house.

You should not:

  • visit a healthcare facility (except to access medical care)
  • visit an aged residential care facility
  • have contact with anyone at risk of getting seriously unwell with COVID-19.

You may be asked to wear a face mask

Some healthcare facilities and certain areas within healthcare facilities may ask visitors to wear a face mask. This is to protect those at higher risk, for example patients receiving care in an intensive care unit or emergency department of a hospital. To protect those at higher risk, respect and follow the healthcare facilities policies.

Returning to work or school

You should discuss your return to work with your employer or your child’s return to school with their school principal. Your employer or your school may require additional precautions.


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 isolating:

We are isolating poster [PDF, 88 KB]


You can exercise outside your home while 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.

If you get COVID-19 while travelling

If you are away from home or your normal place of residence, you can return home in a private vehicle.

If you get COVID-19 while travelling

For workers

If your employer asks to see proof that you were isolating, you can use your My Covid Record positive result confirmation text message. You do not need a medical certificate from a doctor.

Recording your positive RAT result is important because you:

  • will get a text message from Te Whatu Ora which you can use as evidence if you need time off work
  • can get support from public health services if you are at higher risk of severe illness
  • will get a second text message when you can leave your recommended isolation period.

For employers

The official 2328 or 2648 numbers are text message services used by Te Whatu Ora. They confirm:

  • a person is positive for COVID-19
  • when their recommended isolation period ends
  • if a person is a Household Contact.

The Holiday Act 2003 says an employer can ask an employee for proof of sickness or injury for sick leave taken if it is for 3 or more consecutive days.

Text messages from 2328 or 2648 are reliable proof of a person needing to isolate or take time off due to COVID-19. You do not need to ask for a medical certificate.

Leave and pay entitlements during COVID-19 | Employment New Zealand (external link)

Last updated: at