COVID-19 Symptoms

What the COVID-19 symptoms are, how fast they appear and what to do if you have any symptoms.

If you present any of the following COVID-19 symptoms call the Te Marae Ora (Ministry of Health) HEALTHLINE 20065 or 20066 or FREE DIAL 0800 1801 or 0800 1802.

On this page

> COVID-19 symptoms
> If you have any symptoms
> How COVID-19 spreads
> 10 Public Health tip to keep safe

COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • a new or worsening cough
  • a fever of at least 38°C
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • temporary loss of smell.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as colds and flu.
Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

Less common symptoms

Some people may also have less common symptoms such as only:

  • fever
  • diarrhoea
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • confusion and irritability.

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your Puna, Doctor or call TMO Healthline on 20065 or 20066 or Free Dial 0800 1801 or 0800 1802.

Time for symptoms to appear

We do not yet know how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected, but current World Health Organization assessments suggest that it’s 2 to 10 days.


If you have any symptom

Talk to a health professional

If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and call:

A Te Marae Ora representative will advise whether you fit the criteria for testing. Call before visiting if you have any symptoms.
Let your health professional know if you have travelled internationally in the past 14 days, or if you have been in contact with a confirmed or probable case.

While you have symptoms

  • If you’re sick, stay home. Do not go to work or school. Do not socialise.
  • If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms call the Healthline, your Puna or your doctor and check if you should get tested.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, and regularly disinfect shared surfaces.
  • If you are told by health authorities to self-isolate, do so immediately. If you are awaiting test results you will also need to self-isolate.

How COVID-19 spreads

Like the flu, COVID-19 is usually spread from person to person. People can catch the virus through their eyes, nose or mouth.
Scientific evidence suggests that COVID-19 is spread by droplets. When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may spread droplets containing the virus.
People may get infected by the virus if they touch surfaces or objects that have been touched by an infected person, or if droplets have settled there.
People could also get infected if droplets remain in the air for a few minutes, or longer. While it is unlikely people will get infected this way, the risk becomes higher:

  • in enclosed spaces that do not have good airflow
  • in crowded places
  • during loud conversations.

Keep up good hygiene

That’s why it’s really important to use good hygiene, at any time.

  • Regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow.
  • Clean or disinfect shared surfaces regularly.
  • Wear a face covering.
  • If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and call the Healthline on 20065 or 20066, or Free Dial 0800 1801 or 0800 1802.

10 Public Health Tips to Keep You Safe

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  2. Practise pragmatic physical distancing (at least 2m)
  3. Cover your coughs and sneezes
  4. Avoid touching your face (eyes, mouth, nose) with unwashed hands
  5. Stay home if you are feeling unwell
  6. Wear a face mask if unwell, in public, crowded, or enclosed spaces
  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  8. Limit time spent in crowded and enclosed spaces
  9. Protect vulnerable people in our community
  10. Avoid spreading misinformation
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