Novel Coronavirus (2019 n-Cov)

Patient Info » Novel Coronavirus (2019 n-Cov)

Ministry of Health general advice on novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

31 January 2020

• An update from World health Organisation (WHO)

• New Zealand’s ability to test for 2019-nCoV

• Ministry of Health resources

• Hoax email

• Health advice.

Update from World Health Organisation (WHO)

This morning the third meeting of the ad hoc Emergency Committee (the Committee) was convened by WHO on the basis of the Committee’s advice, regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV.

The WHO Director-General has declared the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

The Committee provided specific advice to WHO, to China and to all countries, including New Zealand. The advice to all countries is that they "should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoV infection, and to share full data with WHO". 

New Zealand's current and planned preparedness and response activities for novel coronavirus are all consistent with the advice from WHO.

It is important to note that as the situation continues to evolve, so will the strategic goals and  measures to prevent and reduce spread of the infection.


The Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) has confirmed that a novel coronavirus diagnostic test is now available in New Zealand.

Ministry of Health Resources

The Ministry of Health has developed a ‘Protect yourself against the novel coronavirus’ poster with key public health messages, for display at local government events.

The Ministry of Health has also developed ‘Infection prevention and control advice when novel coronavirus infection is suspected’. You can download the guidance from

Hoax email

The Ministry of Health is aware that an incorrect and misleading email, which purports to be from the Ministry of Health, is circulating in New Zealand. This advice has NOT come from the Ministry of Health. The Ministry has posted a tweet to alert people to this false email, and direct them to our website, where they can find our up to date advice.

Health Advice

What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV?

Symptoms of 2019-nCoV are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have 2019-nCoV. Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing can be a sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

We don’t yet know how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected, but current WHO assessments suggest that it is 2-10 days.

What do I do if I am sick right now?

If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing please telephone Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116.

Where can I get more information about 2019-nCoV?

Visit the Ministry of Health’s website at

Advice for travellers from China, visit this link