On this page
- COVID-19 clinical advice line
- Primary Care COVID-19 Quick Reference Guide
- Risk score for COVID-19 call prioritisation
- Guidance for critical health services during an Omicron outbreak
- Guidance on managing community cases and contacts
- Clinical guidance on testing for possible COVID-19 reinfection
- Access to health services and testing after having COVID-19
- Clinical Management of COVID-19 in Hospitalised Adults
- Therapeutics for COVID-19
- Clinical rehabilitation for people with long COVID
- COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control - Guidance for Acute Care Hospitals
- Ministry of Health position statement on pre-consultation testing of unvaccinated individuals in healthcare settings
- Clinical guidance for responding to patients with an intellectual (learning) disability during COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand
- Visitors to New Zealand who require treatment for COVID-19
COVID-19 clinical advice line
The National Telehealth Service provides a COVID-19 clinical advice line for community health providers (including primary care, pharmacy, midwives, aged residential care providers, and home and community health care professionals).
The service offers clinical support and advice 8am to 8pm every day, including weekends and public holidays.
The clinical advice line is staffed by doctors, registered nurses, and paramedics, and there is at least one doctor available on every shift.
The service is not a source of information about or access to equipment, staffing or funding – these will continue to be managed through the usual channels.
It provides clinical staff with a valuable additional resource to help them navigate the range of information available and to support them in making local decisions to protect their patients and populations.
Details of the 0800 clinical advice number have been circulated to stakeholders within New Zealand.
Primary Care COVID-19 Quick Reference Guide
This is a summary of information for community healthcare providers involved in:
- assessing and managing COVID-19
- queries regarding COVID-19 risk and need for testing (including general practice, community pharmacy, Hauora Māori, and urgent care providers).
This guide aims to help primary care providers to develop their policies and procedures.
Risk score for COVID-19 call prioritisation
Care Coordination Hubs have access to the Risk Score for Call Prioritisation to identify people at higher risk of hospitalisation. It is used when a person with COVID-19 does not submit a health survey within 24 hours after uploading their result. Once their risk score is estimated they may be prioritised for a phone call.
The data used to estimate the risk score is based on an algorithm. The Ministry of Health is a signatory to the Algorithm Charter
- Risk score tool Privacy Impact Statement (PDF, 1.39MB)
- Risk score tool Privacy Impact Statement (Word, 132KB)
- Algorithm Hub
- Algorithm Information Request (PDF, 472KB)
- Algorithm Information Request (Word, 256KB)
Striving for equity - COVID-19 Testing and Supply
Case Studies on Equity, Volume 1 and Volume 2 show how the Testing and Supply team demonstrate equity in action.
These case studies summarise the Testing and Supply team’s work to improve equitable outcomes for priority populations from January – June 2022.
Guidance for critical health services during an Omicron outbreak
If the community spread of Omicron causes significant disruptions to services, we have defined critical health services that will be required and have guidance for critical workers to follow. The guidance covers periods of self-isolation and testing. Where operational changes need to be made, these will only apply to critical workers where face-to-face service delivery is required.
Find full details on the guidance for critical health services during an Omicron outbreak page
Guidance on managing community cases and contacts
This guidance provides information for health practitioners for assessing and managing COVID-19 cases and contacts. It is reviewed and updated regularly. New additions or changes are shown in red.
Clinical guidance on testing for possible COVID-19 reinfection
Clinical and operational guidance on testing for possible COVID-19 reinfection has been amended and simplified and is now included in the COVID-19 Testing Guidance
Case definition and clinical testing guidelines for COVID-19
Access to health services and testing after having COVID-19
People who have had a COVID-19 infection may have persistent positive COVID-19 PCR tests in the three months after recovering. This is because it takes time for viral fragments to be cleared from the body, despite no longer being infectious.
In the three months following recovery from COVID-19, people who need to access healthcare of any kind, including residential facilities, should be able to do so without the need for a negative COVID-19 test.
Clinical Management of COVID-19 in Hospitalised Adults
This guideline is intended to be an accessible summary of key components of hospital management of adults (including in pregnancy) with confirmed or probable COVID-19.
This update includes:
- Tixagevimab-cilgavimab (Evusheld) is no longer recommended for pre-exposure prophylaxis OR treatment due to anticipated lack of neutralising efficacy against currently circulating Omicron subvariants.
- Budesonide is no longer recommended for people without an oxygen requirement due to anticipated negligible absolute risk reduction for contemporary COVID-19 illness.
- Amended wording reflecting likely lack of efficacy of molnupiravir in people without an oxygen requirement.
- Amended safety consideration for Paxlovid use in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Amended advice regarding timing of surgery for people with COVID-19.
This document is reviewed and updated periodically, or in response to significant changes in evidence and/or recommendations by international guideline groups.
Therapeutics for COVID-19
The Therapeutics Technical Advisory Group (TAG) was established by the Ministry of Health in August 2021 to provide expert advice on existing and emerging medicines for use in the management of COVID-19. This group prepares and provides a range of advice for health professionals on the use of COVID-19 therapeutics including the guidelines on the Clinical Management of COVID-19 in Hospitalised Adults.
Position Statement: Evusheld no longer recommended for treatment of COVID-19
This Position Statement explains the Therapeutic Technical Advisory Group rationale for the recommendation not to use Evusheld treatment in non-hospitalised patients with COVID-19. Therapeutics TAG advises that Paxlovid™ (or remdesivir) are preferable treatments to Evusheld.
- Therapeutic Technical Advisory Group Position Statement to remove recommendation to use Evusheld (Word, 46KB)
- Therapeutic Technical Advisory Group Position Statement to remove recommendation to use Evusheld (PDF, 144KB)
- Last updated 28 February 2023
Position Statement: Molnupiravir no longer recommended for treatment of COVID-19
This Position Statement explains the Therapeutic Technical Advisory Group rationale for the recommendation not to use molnupiravir treatment in non-hospitalised patients with COVID-19. Therapeutics TAG advises that Paxlovid™ (or remdesivir) are preferable treatments to molnupiravir.
- Therapeutic Technical Advisory Group Position Statement to remove recommendation to use molnupiravir (Word, 45KB)
- Therapeutic Technical Advisory Group Position Statement to remove recommendation to use molnupiravir (PDF, 142KB)
- Last updated 28 February 2023
Oral therapeutic for the treatment of COVID-19
Information and guidance have been developed for health practitioners to aid in the provision of the oral therapeutic Paxlovid to treat COVID-19. This medicine is given to people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have symptoms, and are at a higher risk of hospitalisation including Māori and Pacific peoples, those with complex health needs, older persons, unvaccinated populations, and people with disabilities.
Access criteria for Paxlovid is set by Pharmac.
- Guidance on community use of oral COVID-19 antivirals (Word, 63KB)
- Guidance on community use of oral COVID-19 antivirals (PDF, 286KB)
- Last updated 3 March 2023
A pharmacy guide has been developed to aid in responding to people with questions about oral treatment for COVID-19.
- Pharmacy guide for responding to public questions about COVID-19 antivirals (PDF, 220KB)
- Pharmacy guide for responding to public questions about COVID-19 antivirals (Word, 209KB)
- Last updated 13 December 2022
Information and guidance have been developed for hauora and Māori health providers to aid in responding to patients with questions about their eligibility for oral therapeutics to treat COVID-19, including advice for providers who are not able to provide eligibility assessments for patients or prescribe these therapeutics.
- COVID-19 Antiviral Medicines – information for hauora providers (Word, 229KB)
- COVID-19 Antiviral Medicines – information for hauora providers (PDF, 184KB)
Guidance on advance prescriptions for oral COVID-19 antiviral medicines
Te Whatu Ora has released guidance on advance prescriptions for oral COVID-19 antiviral medicines. The document provides guidance to relevant appropriately qualified prescribers and pharmacists to support safe and timely access to oral therapeutic for COVID-19 to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and poor outcomes. Read more about COVID-19 medicines.
- Advance Prescriptions for Oral COVID-19 Antiviral Medicines (Word, 176KB)
- Advance Prescriptions for Oral COVID-19 Antiviral Medicines (PDF, 360KB)
- 27 February 2023
Antiviral Options for COVID-19 Infection in patients with Chronic Kidney disease
This advice a position statement from the Therapeutics TAG to provide guidance relating to the use of antivirals in patients with Chronic Kidney Failure.
- Antiviral Options for COVID-19 Infection in patients with Chronic Kidney disease (Word, 60KB)
- Antiviral Options for COVID-19 Infection in patients with Chronic Kidney disease (303KB)
- Last update: 20 March 2023
Information and guidance for secondary care clinicians: antiviral agents for treatment of COVID-19
The Ministry of Health has published new information and guidance on antiviral agents for treatment of COVID-19 for secondary care clinicians from the Therapeutics Technical Advisory Group.
Guidance for temporary prioritisation of remdesivir for early COVID-19 in people not requiring oxygen
This advice provides guidance for temporary prioritisation of remdesivir for early COVID-19 in people not requiring oxygen.
Clinical rehabilitation for people with long COVID
This guideline is intended to provide clinical guidance on long COVID conditions in both children and adults in Aotearoa New Zealand.
It is an evidence-based summary that covers the definition and diagnosis of long COVID. It seeks to provide the best evidence currently available to assist informed decision-making to improve the health, vocational and social outcomes for individuals with long COVID.
There are also two summary fact sheets available – for clinicians, and for individuals and whanau.
View the guidance on clinical rehabilitation for people with long COVID
COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control - Guidance for Acute Care Hospitals
View this guidance on the COVID-19: Infection prevention and control recommendations for health and disability care workers page
Ministry of Health position statement on pre-consultation testing of unvaccinated individuals in healthcare settings
The Ministry of Health has made a position statement on the management of unvaccinated individuals in healthcare settings. This statement focuses on the core issue of routine pre-consultation testing of unvaccinated patients in both community and secondary care settings.
Clinical guidance for responding to patients with an intellectual (learning) disability during COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand
People with an intellectual (learning) disability are at a heightened risk of having a poor outcome from infection with COVID-19 in comparison to non-disabled people. These guidelines are being provided to ensure equity for people with an intellectual disability.
talkingCOVID is designed to help health professionals have conversations about what matters most to patients and their whānau. The talkingCOVID pages are based on sound principles, evidence and experience.
Older adults, and those living with chronic or life-limiting conditions, are at increased risk of experiencing severe or critical symptoms associated with COVID-19 infection and are more likely to die. They may also experience non-COVID-19-related deterioration in their health status during this period. Advance care planning is critical for this cohort and should form a key part of our health system's COVID-19 response strategy.
Advance care planning guidance, specific to the COVID-19 context, has been developed for health practitioners. The guidance is optional, and aims to support conversations and planning with patients.
Visitors to New Zealand who require treatment for COVID-19
The only groups that automatically qualify for the same COVID-19 healthcare as New Zealand citizens and residence-class visa holders are:
- Australian citizens or residence-class visa holders; and
- citizens of the United Kingdom.
Travellers are encouraged to check (before they travel) their insurance covers them for the treatment of COVID-19, and the cost of changing flights, or self-isolating in suitable accommodation.
Currently, visitors who are not citizens or residence-class visa holders and who are not covered by any reciprocal healthcare agreements will only be eligible for publicly funded COVID-19 healthcare if they meet the requirements of the Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011. The assessment of an individual’s circumstances will be made at an operational level.
Any private care provided under the Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011 should be billed to the Ministry of Health in the same way as funded care provided to overseas visitors.
Vaccinations and COVID-19 testing for symptomatic people will continue to be provided for free, regardless of their reason for being in the country, or whether they are eligible for funded healthcare.
Travellers who are COVID-positive should expect to pay to self-isolate in suitable accommodation. Currently, if they are unable to find any suitable accommodation to self-isolate in, they can contact the regional care coordination hub, which in exceptional circumstances may help with sourcing suitable accommodation. The visitor will be invoiced for their stay, which will be booked by the coordination hub via the Orbit system.