Current as of May 3, 2022

Close and household contacts, and isolation

You are a close contact if you have had contact with a person with COVID-19 when they were infectious in the following situations:

  • If you have been close (within 1.5 metres) to someone who has COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes, and they were not wearing a face mask or not wearing it properly.

  • If you have had direct contact with a person who has COVID-19. For example, kissing, or if the person coughed or sneezed on you.

  • If you spent time in an indoor space with someone who has COVID-19 for more than 1 hour and at least one of the following:

    • They were singing, shouting, smoking, vaping, exercising, or dancing.

    • They were not wearing a face mask or it was not on properly.

    • It was poorly ventilated.

    • It was smaller than 100m2 (about 3 double garages).

You do not need to isolate if you are a close contact, but you need to monitor yourself for symptoms. If you develop any symptoms, immediately get tested. For more in-depth information about NZ's close contact rules, head over here.


You are considered a household contact if you live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. A household contact is considered to be someone who:

  • Shares a house or flat on a permanent or part-time basis (for example, shared custody) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and

  • Has spent at least 1 night or day in that residence while the case was infectious.

These people are not considered household contacts, but may be close contacts:

  • People who live in the same group accommodation as the person with COVID-19 (for example, in aged residential care facilities, halls of residences, boarding houses, hostels, backpackers, and transitional housing).

  • Partners who do not live with the person who has COVID-19 but may have spent a night together.

If you're a household contact, then you will need to do the following regardless of whether you are fully vaccinated or not:

  • Isolate from the day the person with COVID-19 tests positive or their symptoms started — whichever came first.

  • Get a test for COVID-19 on day three, and on day seven of the isolation period, or sooner if you develop symptoms. If you test positive, you need to follow the guidance for people who have COVID-19. If you develop symptoms but test negative, do another rapid antigen test (RAT) 48 hours later.

For more in-depth information about NZ's household contact rules, head over here.


What to do when you test positive for COVID-19

  1. Confirming you are positive. The NZ Ministry of health will send you a text confirming your positive test result. For PCR tests, you'll get a text with your result. For rapid antigen tests (RAT), you'll get a text within 24 hours after you've reported your results through My Covid Record or by phone.

  2. Self-isolate for seven days. Day zero is when your symptoms started or when you tested positive, whichever came first. You don't need a test to leave isolation as the result will likely be positive even though you may not be infectious, however you must have no symptoms. If you're still showing symptoms then you must continue isolating until you are well.

  3. Start contact tracing. You'll need to tell the people you live with, your workplace or school, and other close contacts ASAP.

  4. Monitor and manage your symptoms.

  5. Ending isolation after seven days. You do not need to wait for an official message to leave isolation, however you must have no symptoms. If you're still sick then you must stay at home until you are well and for 24 hours after you no longer have symptoms.

For more in-depth information about what to do if you tested positive for COVID-19, head over here.


Traffic lights update

New Zealand is at the 'orange' alert level of COVID restrictions from Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Life at the 'orange' alert level means you:

  • Can continue to do everyday activities, but we need to protect our vulnerable communities.

  • Must wear a face mask in many indoor locations. You do not need to wear a face mask outdoors.

  • Can visit cafes and bars, attend gatherings and events, and go to the hairdresser and gym. There are no capacity limits or distancing requirements at venues.

  • Can go to your workplace or school in person.

  • Keep up healthy habits to protect yourself, your whānau and your community.

For more in-depth information about the current rules and restrictions under New Zealand's COVID-19 'orange' alert level, you can find out more here.

About the traffic lights framework

The COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) is central to New Zealand's new minimise and protect strategy. The following information explains the new approach.

The framework will continue to protect New Zealanders, while also providing more certainty and new opportunities. It minimises the impact of COVID-19 through 3 settings — Red, Orange and Green.

Minimisation means we are aiming to keep the spread of COVID-19 and hospitilisations at as low a level as possible. Outbreaks will be contained and controlled, and if practical, stamped out. There will likely be some level of cases in the community on an ongoing basis.

Protection means that we will protect people from the virus, with vaccination, infection prevention and control and general public health measures — for example, contact tracing, case management and testing — and a response that focuses on minimising its significant health impacts through treatment and support. We will also protect people’s health, by ensuring we are not letting cases go to the point where the impacts have flow-on effects to impact other health services.

The hard truth is that COVID-19 will spread around New Zealand, and we need to be prepared. The framework is our best tool to do this. It is intended to give as much certainty and stability as possible for people and businesses, reducing the need for widespread lockdowns.

Helpful information:

Stay updated here.


If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

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