What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new virus that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus. There are simple steps you can take to protect you, your family and whānau.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a fever (at least 38°C)
- a cough
- shortness of breath.
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.
We can all slow this down.
This Government website (https://covid19.govt.nz/) has everything you need to know about COVID-19 in one place. Learn the simple steps you can take to unite against the virus and slow its spread. Find out what help is available and get the latest updates.
If you’re not sure who to contact for help, call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997 (8 am – 1 am, 7 days a week).
Time for symptoms to appear
We’re still learning about COVID-19. We don’t yet know how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected. Current evidence suggests it is 2–10 days.
How it spreads
Like the flu, COVID-19 can be transmitted from person to person. The scientific evidence confirms that COVID-19 is spread by droplets. When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may generate droplets containing the virus. These droplets are too large to stay in the air for long, so they quickly settle on surrounding surfaces.
People may get infected by the virus if they touch those surfaces or objects, and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes.
That’s why it’s really important to use good hygiene, regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands, and use good cough and sneeze etiquette.
New Zealand’s COVID-19 alert levels
New Zealand’s four-level COVID-19 alert system specifies public health and social measures to be taken against COVID-19.
The alert system means people can see and plan for the kinds of restrictions we may be required to put in place. This includes escalating restrictions on human contact, travel and business operations.
Transport for those unwell
If you have any COVID-19 related concerns please call Healthline (0800 358 5453) for advice before you travel.
To help limit the spread of any virus, those who are unwell should stay at home. If you’re unwell and must travel, private transport is required. If that’s not possible, call Healthline for guidance first (0800 358 5453).
At risk people
People over 70 years of age, people who have compromised immunity or people who have underlying respiratory conditions should stay at home as much as they can.
At risk people include:
Those over 70: Older people often have underlying health issues, including respiratory issues that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
People with medical conditions: Underlying medical conditions can make you more vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular, people with respiratory conditions, such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney problems and diabetes.
People undergoing a treatment for cancer and blood conditions: As treatments for cancer and blood conditions affect people’s immune systems, this makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
Pregnant women: Health experts do not yet know if pregnant women are impacted by COVID-19 in the same way as other people. However, pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk from some infections.
People without easy access to healthcare
For some of new Zealand’s communities, other aspects of their lives may mean they are also at risk. This includes:
Residents of aged care facilities: Aged care facilities are susceptible to rapid transmission of viruses like this. Residents are more susceptible to illnesses due to their age and they are also more likely to have underlying health conditions.
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