Coronavirus: Ministry of Health releases tips on how to prepare for getting COVID-19

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has repeatedly said it is a question of when not if New Zealand will be hit by the Omicron variant of COVID-19. 

Kiwis are being urged to get ready for the outbreak, which could see unprecedented numbers either affected directly by the virus or having to isolate as close contacts. 

This could affect supply chains and cause a shortage of labour at key places such as supermarkets. 

The Ministry of Health has announced key tips to help you prepare if you or someone in your household gets COVID-19.

Ardern announced on Thursday, if there is a community Omicron outbreak, the country will all shift to red under the traffic light system.

New Zealand has so far avoided a massive outbreak of Omicron cases, but the variant has been detected in Auckland and Palmerston North, so it's only a matter of time before the highly transmissible variant spreads.

According to the latest modelling, there could be 2000 Omicron cases a day - which is 10 times higher than the peak of Delta - are expected in the Auckland region in just six weeks in the event of an outbreak. 

The Ministry of Health has announced four steps you, your family and your household can take to prepare yourself and keep you safe when the outbreak occurs. 

Make a plan 

When you or someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19 you will all need to stay home and isolate. 

You'll need to figure out how you can get your essentials when you're isolated. There are options like the Student Volunteer Army or Work and Income who can help with contactless drop off of food and supplies. 

You will need to work out how you will tell people you're isolating so you don't accidentally spread the virus to an unexpected visitor. It could be as simple as having a sign on your front door.

When you're isolated you will not be able to go to work or send your kids to school, so make sure you're set up to work from home and figure out how your kids will keep up to date with their school work. 

The ministry has suggested you think about ways to minimise the spread of COVID-19. They say you draw a map of your home and mark out your zones. For example, shared areas, isolation areas, and a sanitising station.

Have what you need

Just like we have been told if a big earthquake occurs, make sure you have supplies ready to get you through a few days. 

Gather things that will keep you entertained while you're isolated to help overcome the boredom. 

The ministry recommends you put together a wellness kit - face coverings, hand sanitiser, gloves, tissues, rubbish bags, cleaning products - as these items will be in hot demand when an outbreak occurs. 

Also have health products on hand to help you with COVID-19 symptoms such as pain relief, ibuprofen, nasal spray, throat lozenges, cough medicine, ice blocks and vapour rubs.

Know and share your plan

Communication will be key when you're isolating and before you get the virus. Make sure the people who matter know what they will need to do. 

The ministry recommends having a house meeting so everyone knows what to do, how to support each other and who to contact if someone gets sick or has to go to the hospital.

Reach out to friends and whānau

Even if you don't get the virus, you might know someone that does so make sure you contact them to make sure they are doing ok. Support your friends, family and workmates to make their plans to get ready and find out what your community is doing. 

For more information on how to be prepared go to