Last updated Tuesday 15 December 2020.
Did you know that the NZ COVID Tracer Mobile App now includes Bluetooth tracing. This means it will be able to alert you when you’ve been near another app user who tests positive for COVID-19.
Once the update has been installed, you will be able to turn on Bluetooth Tracing. If your phone is compatible, it will ask for permission to use your phone’s Exposure Notification System. This is entirely optional but strongly recommended.
If you have an Android phone, it might take a few minutes for it to confirm whether your device supports Bluetooth tracing. Please be patient and check back later if you need to. You can read more about compatibility requirements for Bluetooth tracing on our website.
Yes, whether or not you choose to participate in Bluetooth tracing, you should also continue to scan the official QR codes wherever you see them.
QR codes allow us to create a private record of the places we’ve been, while Bluetooth tracing allows us to create an anonymised record of the people we’ve been near. Both are important for contact tracing.
Bluetooth tracing uses radio waves to allow your phone to securely exchange randomised ‘keys’ with other nearby phones up to around 2 metres away.
When an app user tests positive for COVID-19, the contact tracing team will ask them to upload their Bluetooth keys. If you were near enough to that person for long enough to be at risk of exposure, you will receive a Bluetooth alert.
The Bluetooth alert will give you advice on what you need to do to protect yourself and your whānau to help stop the spread of the virus.
Watch a short video here for an overview of Bluetooth tracing.
Protecting your privacy has been one of our top priorities throughout the development of NZ COVID Tracer.
Bluetooth tracing doesn’t involve exchanging any identifying information. Anyone who receives a Bluetooth alert won’t know who sent it or where they were when they were exposed to the virus.
Similarly, your digital diary of scanned QR codes and manual entries is stored securely on your phone where only you can see it.
The app has been endorsed by the Privacy Commissioner due to its focus on privacy.
We have also released the source code so you can see for yourself how the app manages your data.
Bluetooth tracing requires iOS 13.5+ on iPhones or Android 6.0+ on other phones. Phones with Android must also support Bluetooth Low Energy and have access to Google Play Services.
If your phone does not support Bluetooth tracing, you can still scan the QR codes to keep a private record of the places you visit, and will still receive location alerts if you have them enabled.
NZ COVID Tracer will update by itself if you have automatic updates enabled.
You can also manually update the app through the App Store (for iPhones) or the Play Store (other phones). Instructions can be found on the Ministry’s website.
What Lockdown Level are we at?
All of Aotearoa / New Zealand is at level 1.
Mask Wearing and other restrictions are there at level 1
Apart from border restrictions (keeping visitors out of Aotearoa / New Zealand), the only restriction at Level 1 is to wear a mask on all public transport and domestic flights into, out of, and within Auckland. Mask wearing is not mandatory for taxi and uber passengers but is strongly recommended. Children under the age of 12 and as well as people with certain medical conditions will be exempt from mandatory mask wearing. Children and young people travelling on school buses are also exempt. You can buy masks from many stockists, including supermarkets or wear a scarf or bandana or even make your own “no-sew” mask: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=356680615491629
What can I do to keep safe?
If you have cold or flu symptoms, stay home and call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453. There is no stigma to COVID-19.
People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, for example those with underlying medical conditions and Kaumātua are encouraged to take extra care when leaving home.
What do I do if I’m unwell or can’t get out?
You can call your own doctor or the free Healthline (0800 358 5453) to ask if they can help with any health issues. You can also order products on-line for home delivery, ask others to pick up supplies for you, or call 0800 NWOrakei (0800 6967 2534) if you need help.
What are the symptoms of the COVID-19 virus?
The symptoms include a cough, fever, shortness of breath, sneezing or a runny nose. These symptoms are also often a sign you have a cold of the common flu. This table, produced by the team at The Spinoff, is a useful guide to COVID-19 symptoms:
What do I do if I think I have the virus?
Call 111 immediately if you or someone in your household is having a medical emergency. If you are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms you should self-isolate from the rest of your household and call your regular doctor or, if you don’t have a regular doctor, call the free Healthline on 0800 358 5453, and self-isolate. There is good guidance on self-isolation on the Government’s COVID-19 information website: https://covid19.govt.nz/help-and-advice/for-everyone/self-isolation-if-youre-unwell/
How can I get a test for COVID-19?
You will only be tested for COVID-19 if you have the symptoms described above or work in a risk area (such as the border or a quarantine site). If you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms or do not work in a risk area, do NOT present for a COVID-19 test.
If you do have COVID-19 symptoms, call your regular doctor. If you don’t have a regular doctor, call the free Healthline on 0800 358 5453. Either your regular doctor or the Healthline will be able to give you a referral to a testing station for a test.
Where can I get help if I’m struggling to cope?
Reach out to your regular support people such as family, friends or your Church elders and check out the awesome resources on the NWO Whānau Hub: https://ngatiwhatuaorakei.com/nwo-lockdown/. Otherwise, you can call or text 1737 for free, anytime (24/7) to talk with a trained counsellor. There is good guidance on keeping mentally well on the Government’s COVID-19 information website: https://covid19.govt.nz/help-and-advice/for-everyone/looking-after-your-mental-health/
If you work, your employer may be part of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which provides free counselling sessions for employees. Your employer will be able to provide you with their EAP details.
What do I do if someone in my household dies?
Contact your funeral director for guidance and check the separate online Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei tangihanga resource: http://ngatiwhatuaorakei.com/tangihanga-during-covid-19/
Can my employer make me come into work?
Yes. Talk to your employer about the measures they’ve put in place to keep you safe – these include social distancing, enabling good hand hygiene, frequently cleaning your work spaces, and PPE.
Does my employer have to pay me?
Yes, any changes or reductions to hours, tasks or pay outside your employment agreement need to be agreed with you and recorded in writing. If you can’t agree, your employer must go through a fair and proper process to restructure your hours, tasks or pay in consultation with you.
Can my employer make me take annual leave?
Yes, but only if you have accrued the leave (check your payslip) and only if they give you two weeks’ notice. You can agree another arrangement with your employer, but you must treat each other with good faith.
Where can I find out what my rights as an employee are?
Community Law has put together an excellent flow chart to help you understand your rights as an employee: https://socialink.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Employment_flowchart_2_April_2020_v1.pdf
Where can I find information about my obligations as an employer?
The Government’s Employment website is the best place to go for up to date advice on your obligations and rights as an employer: https://www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/other-types-of-leave/coronavirus-workplace/. If in doubt, get legal advice.
Do I have health and safety obligations to Kaimahi if they’re working from home?
Yes, you still have the usual health and safety obligations to your Kaimahi while they are working remotely. WorkSafe has some excellent guides on your health and safety obligations to your employees and on keeping employees safe during this period: https://worksafe.govt.nz/
Marama Royal, Chair, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust provides a brief update on the current COVID-19 situation. Matataki mai!