COVID-19 (coronavirus) information

COVID-19 (coronavirus) information

Last updated 2 April 2020
Last updated 2 April 2020

Access to tertiary sites prohibited

Access to all tertiary education sites has now been prohibited. The exceptions are for access for tertiary education accommodation services, as these are regarded as essential.

There are also limited circumstances under which access to tertiary education sites can be granted by the Secretary for Education. This permission can only be granted upon submission of an application form.

These restrictions will continue as long as New Zealand is at Alert Level 4 for COVID-19, which is the highest alert level and aims to restrict movement around and within communities to the maximum extent possible.

You can see the circumstances under which access may be granted here and find the permission form here.

Stay up to date and get more information below:

For official Government information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), including health advice and travel restrictions visit the All-of-Government website 

For health advice, refer to the Ministry of Health’s website

For more advice for students, visit the Ministry of Education website

To keep updated on travel restrictions and visa information visit the Immigration NZ website

Update: 2 April 2020: Update for Tertiary Providers and International Students

The government has today released its plan to safely repatriate foreign nationals including international students while the country is in lockdown.  We understand the past few days have been uncertain for you and the government is working to respond quickly to your needs.

This update provides advice for international students who want to depart New Zealand on scheduled commercial or foreign-government assisted charter flights.

  • If you are a student intending to travel, you should speak to your education provider about travel arrangements.  They are working with the government and have all the latest and accurate information.
  • Under Alert Level 4, international students are now able to leave New Zealand on scheduled commercial or foreign-government assisted charter flights.
  • You must have a confirmed booking and a valid international ticket to travel to the airport and depart New Zealand.
  • To get to an airport, you must be able to drive in private transport, or complete a public transport, taxi or uber ride within two hours or a single domestic flight (commercial or charted) to either Auckland or Christchurch International Airport.
  • Students travelling to airports must follow the Alert 4 health and safety advice to protect themselves and others. These measures include ensuring 2 metres distance between people, coughing/sneezing into an elbow, washing and drying hands often.
  • Educational providers must ensure certain requirements are met under the Code. These include:
  • Clear and timely communication with students and parents about travel. Parents and students should only be consenting to travel with an informed understanding of the relevant risks and the possibility of changing plans.
  • A transfer of care plan for under 18 students that is agreed to in writing (digitally) by the student’s parent or legal guardian.
  • Appropriate and safe supervision for students under 18 to ensure that the wellbeing of the student is maintained during their transfer of care.
  • We have included a check list on the following page to assist you with students under 18.

For more information on other travel criteria, visit Update on domestic travel criteria for foreign nationals returning home.

Checklist for providers with students under 18

Is the student eligible to travel?

Students must:

  • not have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and if recovered from COVID-19, have medical clearance to travel;
  • not have symptoms consistent with COVID-19;
  • not be awaiting test results for COVID-19;
  • not be a close contact of a suspected/probable/confirmed case of COVID-19; and
  • not have travelled internationally within the last 14 days
  • Have the student’s parents been provided with the relevant information to support their decision about the flight?

This should include, but is not limited to:

  • Information on the current situation in New Zealand (for example, the link to the COVID-19 website, MoH situation updates etc.)
  • Information on current education and pastoral care arrangements, and ongoing supports available
  • Information on the support the signatory can give to repatriation arrangements (for example, intended approach to transport, supervision, accommodation, transfer of care and communication arrangements, including the possibility that plans may change)
  • Information on insurance coverage (where the insurance was arranged by the signatory)
  • Information on enrolment continuation / deferral processes
  • Information on any refund provisions
  • Information on who to contact for further information (eg Embassy, Immigration New Zealand for visa queries).
    Have the parents or guardians of the student confirmed in writing (digitally) that they approve the student travelling back to their home country under these circumstances?

Have the parents or guardians of the student confirmed in writing (digitally) that they approve the student travelling back to their home country under these circumstances?

Does the student have a confirmed airline ticket for an outbound international flight?

  • This may be a commercial flight or a foreign government repatriation flight. Young students may need to be registered as Unaccompanied Minors.

Is there approved, safe transportation and supervision arranged for travel to the airport?

  • This transport must be agreed with the student’s parents, and meet the requirements of the Alert Level 4 lockdown

Is there a transfer of care plan in place for the student?

  • Students should not be left alone without supervision and support. The Transfer of Care plan must ensure that students have appropriate supervision at the airport (for example, airline staff if they’re travelling as an Unaccompanied Minor, or Embassy officials for repatriation flights), and that those supervisors understand their obligations.

Have clear communication protocols been established with the students, their parents, and the other parties involved with the flights and transport within New Zealand?

  • This includes the requirement to notify parents of any changes in the detail of flights, transit, etc., and emergency contact details should anything go wrong (eg student becomes unwell, misses a connection etc.).

 Stay up to date and get more information below:

For official Government information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), including health advice and travel restrictions visit the All-of-Government website 

For health advice, refer to the Ministry of Health’s website

For more advice for students, visit the Ministry of Education website

To keep updated on travel restrictions and visa information visit the Immigration NZ website

Update: 2 April 2020: Update for domestic tertiary students

Update for domestic tertiary students

We know some students are facing significant difficulties in continuing their studies, because of changes in their own situation arising from lockdown and/or changes in their providers’ ability to offer courses. Staying enrolled is the best way we can help you.

We will keep updating you with answers to your main questions, provide information on what support is available and tips for your wellbeing during these times. If your question is not answered here today, we will try to provide an answer as soon as possible.

Your physical and mental wellbeing is likely to be impacted during this time. As well as resources on the COVID19 website, there is lots of useful information online at the Mental Health Foundation and Health Promotion Agency. 

What is available to support me financially right now?

  • While other options might look better, stay enrolled because:
    • You will keep receiving your StudyLink payments
    • You will be eligible for any additional student support being worked on
  • The Ministry of Social Development may be able to help you with other costs while you’re self-isolating. This includes costs that are urgent, unexpected or harder to cover, such as food and accommodation. You can find out more at StudyLink- Urgent and unexpected costs
  • More information on student loans and/or allowances or tertiary education matters more generally can be found at StudyLink and Ministry of Education COVID-19 site
  • Your tertiary provider may also be offering extra help for students during this time, so it’s worth looking on their website / Facebook page, or even contacting them directly to ask.

If I withdraw from my courses, will this have an impact on my Fees Free entitlement?

  • Yes, this could have an impact on your Fees Free entitlement.
  • We are working urgently to figure out how we will be able to help Fees Free students who are disadvantaged because they had to withdraw. 
  • Stay enrolled in your courses if you can, and continue to engage with your provider about options available to you to continue your studies this year.

What if I can’t afford to pay my rent because I’ve lost my part-time job?

  • If you have been working part-time to help cover your tertiary education costs, you may be eligible for the wage subsidy scheme Government has put in place. You can find further information at COVID-19 Financial support and COVID-19 Wage subsidy
  • There is now a freeze on rental increases. This means your landlord cannot increase your rent unless the increase occurred before lockdown.  To find out more, visit rent freeze and tenancy terminations
  • You can ask your landlord to reduce your rent temporarily. The Residential Tenancies Act allows a tenant/s and landlord to agree that the tenant/s can pay a reduced rent temporarily. This reduced rent can be for a specific amount of time or until a specific event occurs. Once that time is up, the rent goes back up to its previous amount.

Things change quickly so stay up to date by following the links below:

For answers to questions about Student Allowance and Living Cost payments, refer to StudyLink’s website.

For health advice, refer to the Ministry of Health’s website

For official Government information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), including health advice and travel restrictions visit the All-of-Government website 

For more advice for students, visit the Ministry of Education website

TEC advice to Tertiary Education Organisations: 31 March 2020

TEC Chief Executive Tim Fowler has written to all TEC-funded Tertiary Education Organisations to explain the effect COVID-19 restrictions will have on funding and recovery processes.

You can read the letter here (PDF, 236 Kb)

Update: 31 March 2020: Travel information for international tertiary students

Travel update for international tertiary students

We understand many things are uncertain at the moment and we want to reassure you that the Government is working to respond quickly to your needs.

This update provides advice around potential international flights and travelling to board a flight.

  • Under Alert Level 4, people need to stay home. No travel is allowed around the country, except for essential services.
  • Under Alert Level 4, you cannot take a domestic flight to connect with an international flight. If students are not in self-isolation, are well, and have a confirmed booking on a commercial international flight and can drive to the airport by car in 5 hours or less, they may travel by car to the airport.
  • Alert Level 4 restrictions on travel in New Zealand are important for us all to respect to protect the health of everyone in New Zealand and to save lives. If you are travelling within the country please respect the physical distancing requirements.
  • Some countries are looking to repatriate their citizens by making special flights and have been in contact with students directly via email.
  • At present, no repatriation flights have been approved by the New Zealand Government. We will update you if this situation changes.
  • With no repatriation flights approved, students who do not have a confirmed commercial flight booked (as above) should remain with their homestay or accommodation providers and not attempt any travel.
  • We have asked education providers and homestay families to keep in close contact with you to ensure that you have access to suitable accommodation and, have the care, support and information you need to deal with any issues including visas, insurance, and other support. 

Stay up to date and get more information below:

For official Government information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), including health advice and travel restrictions visit the All-of-Government website 

For health advice, please refer to the Ministry of Health’s website.

For more advice for students visit the Ministry of Education website

To keep updated on travel restrictions and visa information visit 

Useful links 

Update 30 March 2020: Update for domestic tertiary students

Update for domestic tertiary students

We understand everything is very uncertain for you at the moment and we want to reassure you that the government and tertiary education providers are working together to respond quickly to your needs.

We are making sure we hear your concerns and will regularly update you with answers to some of your main questions, what support is available and some tips for your wellbeing during these times. If your question is not answered here today, we will provide an answer as soon as possible in the coming days.

Wellbeing is a continuum and you are likely to find yourself at various points on the continuum during this time. As well as resources on the COVID19 website, there is lots of useful information online at the Mental Health Foundation (www.mentalhealth.org.nz) and the Health Promotion Agency (www.hpa.org.nz).

What is available to support me financially right now? (Domestic students only)

  • You will continue to receive your weekly StudyLink payments if you remain enrolled – so please stay enrolled. Staying enrolled also means you will be eligible for any additional support for students in the future.
  • StudyLink’s contact centres are experiencing very high demand, so we do ask that people only call for an immediate and essential need so we can make sure those who need it most can get through.
  • If students need extra help during this time they can find information about emergency assistance on the StudyLink website here
  • Answers to questions about Student Allowance and Living Cost payments can be found on StudyLink’s website www.studylink.govt.nz

What if my academic performance is affected? (Domestic students only)

  • If any of the actions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand impact your ability to complete or pass your course, your provider and StudyLink will take this into account if you apply for a Student Allowance or Loan again in the future.

I am worried about rent increasing or being evicted from my flat

  • There is now a freeze on rental increases. Your landlord cannot increase your rent unless the increase came into effect before the lockdown period. 
  • Your tenancy cannot be terminated during the lock-down unless both you and your landlord agree. 

To find out more, see www.hud.govt.nz/residential-housing/covid-19-rent-freeze-and-tenancy-terminations.

Post-graduate students

  • If you received a scholarship, contact the organisation that gave you the scholarship to discuss your situation. You could ask if the scholarship can be changed to provide continuing support for your studies once you are able to start again. This might include whether the scholarship can be used over a longer period, or can be held for later use if you need to stop study for now. 
  • If you have a research deadline, contact your provider to work through the implications for your research. They may not have an answer immediately, and the answer will likely depend on your circumstances and the type of research you are doing.

Useful links 

Update: 27 March 2020: Student repatriation

Student repatriation

This update provides information on the repatriation of international students, including flights and domestic travel to the airport to get those flights.

  • Currently New Zealand is now at Alert Level 4 in its response to COVID-19.
  • Under Alert Level 4, no domestic flights will be permitted for students wanting to connect with flights after midnight, 27th March. Transport to the airport to get to an international flight and return home is permitted as long as you are driven by someone in your “bubble” before midnight, 27th March.
  • German students who have registered with the Embassy should not leave their accommodation “bubble” until they receive an email direct from the German Embassy with confirmation of seats and flight times. If they do not have this email they should not travel.
  • The Level 4 restrictions on travel in New Zealand are important for us all to protect the health of everyone in New Zealand and to save lives. If transport is being undertaken please respect the social distancing requirements.

Update: 26 March 2020: Students (domestic and international) unable to return home

Students (domestic and international) unable to return home

  • Under Alert Level 4, no travel will be permitted for domestic students from midnight Friday 27th March and some international students will also be affected due to lack of flights home.
  • We are aware that a few countries might look to repatriate their citizens by making special flights.
  • We are seeking urgent advice on this and will provide an update as soon as possible.
  • Students (including international students) may have to remain in residential accommodation. Providing services to these students so that they can self-isolate is an essential service.  This includes on-campus medical services, catering, pastoral care and other services.
  • Residential facilities must support remaining students to self-isolate and must strictly enforce personal distancing and hygiene requirements, in accordance with MOH guidelines.
  • You should maintain close contact with international students to ensure that they have access to suitable accommodation and are supported to deal with visa issues, travel insurance, and other essential arrangements.
  • Students with expiring visas with an expiry date of 1st April 2020 or earlier and who are unable to leave New Zealand must apply on-line for a new visa. An interim visa will be issued.
  • Students with expiring visas with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July 2020 inclusive who are in New Zealand on 2 April 2020 will have their visas extended to 25 September 2020. Confirmation of extensions will be emailed to all visa holders.

To keep updated on travel restrictions and visa information visit the Immigration website.

International Students under 18

  • Students under 18 must remain in suitable accommodation under the supervision of appropriate caregivers who have been subject to a full safety check including Police vetting.
  • If there is a need to urgently Police vet a new homestay provider, NZ Police are able to process vetting requests urgently to ensure that Police checking requirements for ‘safe accommodation’ are met. This service should only be used for genuinely urgent applications affected by the withdrawal of homestay families due to health concerns.
  • You can submit the request via the New Zealand Police as per the usual process, entering 'HOMESTAY URGENT' into the ‘Agency Reference’ field of the online vetting request form. These police vets are likely to be processed within 1-2 working days.

If you have specific questions about pastoral care, please call NZQA’s Code team on 0800 697 296 or code.enquiries@nzqa.govt.nz

How can we help?

For providers requiring pastoral care guidance for international students, you should contact the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (on 0800 697 296 or code.enquiries@nzqa.govt.nz) for advice.

Please keep the Ministry of Education informed of any issues with international students which you may not be able to manage, particularly where students are having issues with accommodation. 

What do I do if there is a confirmed case in a tertiary setting?

  • If a person is confirmed as a case of COVID-19 in shared accommodation the provider will need to take a leading role in supporting them to access support and to communicate with the whānau to keep them informed.
  • The person who has been identified as a confirmed case should self-isolate in accordance with MOH guidelines.  Reach out to them to enquire about their situation and supply information on how to access health services. Any support should be provided remotely where possible e.g. through online channels or phone calls.
  • These are some good things to ask:
    • Where is the person staying? Are there any concerns about preventing the spread of the virus?
    • Are they in contact with whānau and other support networks? Do they have someone who can care for them?
    • Do they have access to food or groceries (either online or if someone can get them)?
    • What support do they have in place and do they know about additional support that is available to them?
    • Who else are they staying with? Are they self-isolating (as close contacts)?
    • How will they continue to stay in touch with their provider? Who is the key contact person? How frequently will that person be checking in
  • Providers should immediately contact Gillian Dudgeon at the Tertiary Education Commission Gillian.Dudgeon@tec.govt.nz  or Sandra.Ramsay@tec.govt.nz or; Eve McMahon at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority Eve.McMahon@nzqa.govt.nz (0227 509 7980) to alert her to a confirmed case. The purpose of this initial communication is,  to find out what support the provider will need and advise them where they can go for this – the Ministries of Health or Education – and to advise a future point of contact regarding the confirmed case.
  • Providers should communicate with others in the shared accommodation about what is expected from them, and should offer wellbeing support.
  • Other students staying in the accommodation may be considered close or casual contacts and asked to isolate, or given information about what to do so if they become unwell. Providers should remain in regular contact with these students to ensure that they have access to food, supplies and support for their mental health and wellbeing.
  • The Regional Medical Officer of Health will advise whether additional steps may be needed – for example extra cleaning, additional Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for essential staff. They will also advise whether it is safe for students to continue to use communal areas. 

We recommend that providers issue a statement to their community to notify other staff and students of the confirmed case.  It is important to support the wellbeing of all students, staff, and members of the wider education community at this time.

For health advice, please refer to the Ministry of Health’s website.

For Cross-agency information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), including health advice and travel restrictions visit the All-of-Government website 

For additional advice for tertiary providers/whare wananga visit the Ministry of Education website

Useful links 

Update: 23 March 2020: Change in COVID-19 alert level

The Prime Minister has announced that we are now at COVID-19 alert level 3, and will be moving to alert level 4 in 48 hours. Information about the four level alert system is here.

Our observation is that the sector has by and large implemented most changes required for alert level 3.  You should be directing all of your efforts to preparing for alert level 4.

The general guidelines on alert level 4 are as follows:

  • People are instructed to stay at home
  • All educational facilities are to close and provide distance learning where this can be reasonably managed by staff working from home
  • Businesses closed except for essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics) and lifeline utilities
  • Travel severely limited
  • Major reprioritisation of healthcare services

Under level 4, the following guidelines apply to all Tertiary Education Organisations:

  • Your number one priority should be the welfare of your students and staff, and ensuring that they can self-isolate in accordance with new MoH guidelines as per the PM’s announcement.
  • All education and research services requiring face to face contact should be suspended immediately. As much delivery as possible should be shifted online, so long as this can be managed by staff working at home.
  • Many students (including international students) are likely to have to remain in residential accommodation, either because this is their only available accommodation, or because they are unable to travel home. Providing services to these students so that they can self-isolate is an essential service.  This includes on-campus medical services, catering, pastoral care and other services.
  • Residential facilities must support remaining students to self-isolate and must strictly enforce personal distancing and hygiene requirements, in accordance with MOH guidelines.
  • Medical research required for combating COVID-19 is an essential service.
  • All staff not working in essential services should be sent home. This includes all senior executives.  Vulnerable staff who are providing essential services should be sent home and their roles filled by others.
  • All TEOs should comply with any instructions from authorised government officials including in relation to requisitions and rationing.
  • All TEOs should assume that they will continue to be funded at their 2020 Investment Plan and Fees Free levels until further notice.

Government education agencies are moving to remote working and will remain in operation.

Government agencies are working on a range of ways to support TEOs and students through this stage of COVID-19 and we will announce further guidance and measures as these are developed. 

In the first instance we are giving considerable thought to how we support distance delivery.  We will send out a separate bulletin with some advice on this. 

Useful links 

Update: 19 March 2020: Further advice on mass gatherings

Further advice on mass gatherings

The Government has announced today that there must not be mass gatherings of more than 100 people indoors. This does not apply to tertiary providers, schools, workplaces or public transport.  This exemption for tertiary providers relates to the services essential to educational delivery only (graduations as an example are not essential).

This is in addition to non-essential gatherings being cancelled if the gathering involves more than 500 people in an indoor or outdoor setting.

Tertiary providers should seek to implement the Ministry of Health’s recommendations on social distancing and hygiene (see links below) as far as possible, for both staff and students. You should give consideration to how to apply these in the context of classes, lectures, hostels and communal and social spaces. Our expectations are that you continue to use your discretion to manage the situation on the ground as best as possible.

We encourage providers to give calm, accurate and reassuring messages to your students. If they are well, students should attend class as usual. Students who are unwell should stay at home.

If you have a particular concern about a student or staff member, ask the student or staff member to call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (or +64 9 358 5453 for international callers). Healthline has translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages.

Education sector agencies are reviewing rules and guidelines on funding and quality assurance and what support you need in your continued engagement with staff and students. Agencies are working with TEOs now to provide direct information and please continue to use usual channels for any queries that you have.

Meanwhile, if you have concerns or are aware of problems being raised by students, we encourage you to continue to raise these with the relevant agencies.

Update: 17 March 2020: Advice on mass gatherings – Essential and non-essential

Advice on mass gatherings – Essential and non-essential

The Prime Minister announced on the 16th March, 2020 clear advice regarding mass gatherings. In summary, all essential gatherings such as tertiary institutions, parliament, schools, preschools, and work should continue.

Non-essential gatherings should be cancelled if the gathering involves more than 500 people in an indoor or outdoor setting.  A more detailed framework for gatherings will be released later in the week.

Examples of how this advice is relevant to tertiary institutions

  • We encourage you to develop blended and online learning options, e.g. videoing lectures.  Lectures and large classes can still go ahead, however providers should put due safeguards in place (e.g. ability to track and trace, social distancing where possible)
  • Tutorials and small classes involving smaller numbers of students could continue in person. The usual health precautions should be taken - remind students and staff that basic hygiene measures are the most important way to stop the spread of infections.
  • For those learners in workplaces, tertiary providers should contact employers to discuss guidelines and support arrangements.
  • Sports tournaments should be cancelled if they involve more than 500 competitors and/or spectators.
  • Providers could consider whether it is safe for student unions to remain fully open. It may be appropriate to suspend some services.
  • Shows and concerts with more than 500 attendees should be cancelled.
  • Other events such as open days and job fairs should be postponed.
  • Large public lectures and community events should be cancelled.
  • Some larger societies should consider postponing events or limiting attendee numbers.

Useful links 

Update: 16 March 2020: Extension of existing travel restrictions

Extension of existing travel restrictions

We have more information now available about how the virus works and is transmitted, and we’re learning lessons from how other countries have managed outbreaks.

The New Zealand government is stepping up protective measures to keep individuals, families and our communities safe and healthy in the current global environment through upgraded border control measures.

From 23:59 Sunday 15 March 2020:

  • Travel restrictions remain in place for people arriving from or who have been in mainland China and Iran over the prior 14 days. (Category 1A countries)
  • In addition, all travellers coming from all parts of the world, except parts of the Pacific, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in New Zealand. This also includes Australia and French Polynesia. (Category 1B countries)
  • All travellers coming from the following parts of the Pacific will be required to self-isolate if they show symptoms, within 14 days of arrival. This includes all Pacific Islands Forum members (except French Polynesia, category 1B), Associate Member Tokelau, and Observer Wallis and Futuna.’ (Category 2).

Review period is 16 days initially (Tues 24 March) then 14 days thereafter.

We advise students, their families and whānau, and providers to keep updated on education developments through the Ministry of Education’s website.

For health advice, please refer to the Ministry of Health’s website.

We will continue to work with you to support your students as the COVID-19 situation develops. If you have concerns or are aware of problems being raised by students, we encourage you to continue to raise these with the relevant agencies.

Useful links 

Update: 28 February 2020: Extension of existing travel restrictions

Extension of existing travel restrictions

You will be aware that there continues to be a high degree of uncertainty around the development and spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Countries around the world are continually reviewing their response to the virus.

It is in this context that the Government has announced that it will not be implementing an exemption from travel restrictions for students in China who had intended to study in New Zealand.

The Government has also announced the addition of a second country to the restriction list – Iran. For further information on how this affects travellers, see the Ministry of Health’s website.

We appreciate that universities in particular have put some considerable effort into setting out a case for exempting their students from the current travel restrictions.

On balance the Government has decided that such an exemption should not be approved at this time because of the most recent increased international uncertainty.

We acknowledge your efforts to support solutions for your students who have to study outside the country, and we will continue to support you in this. We know that tertiary providers are working on a number of distance learning solutions and we can provide support.

We also know that some of your students need assistance with visa issues.

If students or parents have visa-related questions, they should check Immigration New Zealand, which provides updates on the visa situation through its website.

Collectively, these measures will support the welfare of these students and allow them to successfully enter, settle and study in New Zealand as soon as possible.

We are also aware that some students are having problems with accommodation. We will continue to advise students to raise concerns directly with their school or tertiary provider in the first instance.

If tertiary students believe their concerns have not been adequately addressed, they can contact the Tertiary Education Commission. Even if the TEC can’t resolve their issue, it can provide support and help direct concerns to the appropriate place. Students can contact the TEC by calling 0800 601 302 or emailing complaints@tec.govt.nz

We advise students, their families and whānau, and providers to keep updated on education developments through the Ministry of Education’s website.

For health advice, please refer to the Ministry of Health’s website.

We will continue to work with you to support your students as the COVID-19 situation develops. If you have concerns or are aware of problems being raised by students, we encourage you to continue to raise these with the relevant agencies.

Update: 26 February 2020: Extension of existing travel restrictions

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus): Extension of the existing travel restrictions to 3 March

The Prime Minister confirmed in an announcement on Monday 24 February, the extension of existing travel restrictions which will now expire 11.59pm on Tuesday 3 March.

The Prime Minister also noted that government officials are investigating the possibility of exempting tertiary students coming here from China, from the current travel restrictions. We will continue to provide further information as it becomes available.

Update: 15 February 2020: Extension of existing travel restrictions

The Minister of Health has extended the travel ban on people travelling from or through mainland China for a further eight day period.

The announcement today by the Minister of Health has been made based on the latest scientific and medical advice provided by relevant experts.  They have advised that the risk to public health in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands warrants an extension of the current border measures.  

The current temporary border measures will be retained for an additional eight day period expiring at 23:59 on Monday 24 Feb 2020.

The Ministry of Health has reiterated that these travel restrictions only apply to people travelling through mainland China in the last 14 days. There is no requirement for people travelling to New Zealand from places outside mainland China to have a ‘stay away’ period. 

Useful links

Update: 2 February 2020: Announcement of travel restrictions

The Ministry of Education, TEC, and NZQA are working together and all tertiary education organisations (TEOs) have been contacted with information about the coronavirus and additional border controls.

The Prime Minister made an announcement on February 2 that includes the following information concerning all foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through mainland China:

"The Government is placing temporary entry restrictions into New Zealand on all foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through mainland China to assist with the containment of the novel coronavirus and to protect New Zealand and the Pacific Islands from the disease.

"This will take effect from tomorrow and will be in place for up to 14 days. This position will be reviewed every 48 hours.

"Any foreign travellers who leave or transit through mainland China after 2 February 2020 (NZ time) will be refused entry to New Zealand.

"Any foreign travellers in transit to New Zealand on 2 February 2020 will be subject to enhanced screening on arrival but, pending clearance, will be granted entry to New Zealand.

"New Zealand citizens and permanent residents returning to New Zealand will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members, but will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival back in the country.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also raised its travel advice to New Zealanders for all of mainland China to 'Do not travel', the highest level.”

While there are no confirmed or suspected cases in New Zealand at the moment, the Ministry of Health continues to encourage a precautionary approach and a focus on good hygiene. Please err on the side of caution and be alert, not alarmed.

See the government announcement at https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-zealand-restrict-travel-china-protect-against-coronavirus

Please continue to refer to the Ministry of Health website for the latest health information.

The health of students and staff is a priority. As always, anyone who is unwell should not be at work or studying at a tertiary provider. If you have any concerns, please contact Healthline at 0800 611 116 or call your GP. Healthline has translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages and they do have Mandarin and Cantonese speaking staff available.

Useful links