What to put in a coronavirus quarantine kit

When the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in New Zealand on Friday hordes of people flocked to supermarkets to panic-buy supplies.

Toilet paper, hand sanitizer and bottled water were in high demand, and pictures of bare shelves were all over social media.

But what supplies should be on hand in case you do have to self-isolate? 

The Ministry of Health is asking anyone who has travelled from China, Iran, northern Italy or Korea in the last 14 days goes into isolation for two weeks.

So if you need to enter voluntary quarantine, there are a few things you should be stocked up on - and facemasks aren't one of them.

Prescription medications

Self-isolation means little-to-no interaction with the outside world. So in preparation it's recommended people ensure they have at least two weeks of any prescription medication they may take.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) also recommends stocking up on cold and flu medications and painkillers to treat the milder symptoms of COVID-19.

However facemasks are not a necessary precaution. The CDC recommends they should only be worn in regions in the midst of an outbreak or by healthcare officials.


Households should have a two-week supply of dry and canned food such as rice, pasta and beans. Tinned tomatoes and tuna are also recommended - make sure there's a can opener in your home. 

Drinks with electrolytes such as Powerade are also a good thing to keep on hand in case you get sick.

It's also recommended people don't skimp on the luxury items like chocolate and coffee - small things can make a big difference to your mental health while isolated. 

Think about other essentials you may need to stock up on such as tampons, baby formula and nappies. 

It's also a good idea to make sure you have cleaning products in your home - coronavirus spreads via droplets which can land on surfaces and infect more people. Keeping surfaces clean is a good way to minimise the spread of the disease. 

Door knobs, light switches, toilet seats and countertops should all be regularly cleaned if you become sick. 

Soap is also a good purchase - hand sanitizer is not recommended unless you do not have access to running water and soap. 

Soap is particularly effective on COVID-19 because its outer layer is made of fat - which is dissolved by soap, killing the virus. 


It's important not to forget about your mental health while in isolation. Some of those under home quarantine told the Associated Press they have used the chance to binge-watch Netflix, or read books. 

Ensure you have things to keep yourself entertained while isolated such as books and films.

The Ministry of Health says keeping to a routine and ensuring regular bedtimes, meal times and exercise can help keep people feel better.

It also recommends calling family and friends to talk about how you feel. If you're not coping then reaching out to a health professional is the best step to take.

For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 free, anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to talk with a trained counsellor.