While we are still learning more about this new virus – 

We do know the risk of the virus spreading in New Zealand is very low 

How worried should I be? 

  • Your chances of catching the coronavirus in New Zealand are very low. 
  • It is highly unlikely you will catch the virus walking down the street 
  • Coronavirus appears to be as infectious as the flu and the symptoms are similar – fever, cough and shortness of breath. You are only likely to catch it if you are near to someone with the virus. Most people catch the virus from someone at home, a close workmate or someone they spend time with. 
  • People will not be moving around the community if they are suspected or confirmed of having the virus – they will be in isolation. Their family and anyone they may have infected will also be asked to stay at home. 

How serious is coronavirus? 

  • People are being infected, mainly in China, but only a small number of those with coronavirus have died. 
  • Most people have a mild to moderate illness with flu-like symptoms 
  • People of all ages are being infected, but older people and those with medical conditions seem most likely to get seriously ill. 

How do I protect myself and my family? 

Everyone should protect themselves from the virus, as you would for the ‘flu – 

  • Washing your hands regularly, or using hand sanitiser, is the best way to avoid this illness. 
  • As with other illnesses, do not go to work or school, or see visitors if you are sick. 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or clothing, and wash hands afterwards 
  • Avoid being near to people who are sick 
  • Washing your hands often and covering coughs and sneezes will do more to protect you from the virus than a mask. 
  • If you are sharing food, use utensils to serve the food and keep your personal spoon, fork, or chopsticks separate to avoid transmission through saliva. 

1 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – What you need to know Current as at: 04/02/2020 

What you need to know 

What should I do if I think I could have coronavirus? 

  • If you start to experience mild symptoms, then stay at home and call Healthline for advice: 0800 611 116. Interpreters are available on request. 
  • If you start to experience more severe symptoms arrange to see a doctor urgently. Call ahead and mention your travel history. Difficulty breathing requires immediate medical attention and can be a sign of pneumonia. 

Where can I find more information? 

Information is updated regularly on the Ministry of Health website