Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Key Messages:

  • Canterbury DHB has postponed all non-urgent surgeries and outpatient appointments. See the media advisory.
  • If you are interested in helping out in a Community-based Assessment Centre (CBAC) in Canterbury, please register your interest by clicking on the button on the left (or email to: We are looking for GPs, nurses, and healthcare assistants both in Christchurch as well as Ashburton and Rangiora, and potentially further sites.
  • You can order PPE via the order form below. Please use PPE appropriately as this is a limited resource.
  • Clinical guidelines are now available on Community HealthPathways.
  • As at 9.00am, 28th March there are 451 probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases in NZ, with 50 confirmed recovered.
  • There are 40 confirmed cases for Canterbury with no hospitalisations. Click here for further info.
  • A telephone triage team is being established to support general practice with triaging people with suspected COVID. Patients meeting the case definition will be referred to a Community-based Assessment Centre (CBAC) for an appointment.
  • A Community-based Assessment Centre (CBAC) has been opened in urban Christchurch and Ashburton; general practitioners should refer via ERMS (ERMS is not yet available in Ashburton). No walk-ins will be permitted to enter; all patients must have an appointment. Patients must still meet the case definition.
  • When considering whether or not your patient meets the suspect case definition for COVID-19 infection, we encourage you to use the triage tool available on the Ministry of Health’s website.
  • There is a limited supply of swabs so it is important that testing is only done when case criteria are met and only one swab should be used per person.
  • Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 phone number is 0800 358 5453 for people who have travelled internationally and develop symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. This is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • From 18 March the influenza vaccination programme has been launched two weeks early. Flu vaccines will be prioritised for people aged 65 and over, pregnant people, those with chronic conditions and front line health workers. Some practices are providing vaccinations at set times away from their general patient population, others are vaccinating people waiting in their cars. See the Influenza page for more details. See also HealthPathways.

For more information and resources for general practices, pharmacies and other community health facilities on the COVID-19, go to our Other Infectious Risks page or the Ministry of Health website. The Ministry has also launched a Facebook page: The NZ government has launched a special website this week called United Against COVID-19.

Posters for general practices are listed below (more available on the Other Infectious Risks page or on the MoH site).

The latest updates from CPRG, CDHB and the Ministry are here:

Further Resources:

Information for Patients:

  • HealthInfo has uploaded some excellent information for Cantabrians to look after themselves and others – this can be found on the HealthInfo website.

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)


Please note: These supplies for PPE have been provided by the CDHB for the purposes of assessing patients who meet the case definition with suspected COVID-19. Your PPE pack is designed to last your practice for up to 25 assessments.

When your supplies drop to 10 sets, order as needed to replenish your stock to 25 sets of PPE by completing the form below:


A review has been completed on the 2019 Canterbury Measles Response. We acknowledge and thank all the general practice teams’ efforts to respond to the vaccination programme and for their feedback to the review. A review document spells out the recommendations made by a wide group of stakeholders. You can read the report here.

For more information on the measles response, see the Other Infectious Risk page.



Other emergencies

For up-to-date emergency notices across the country, visit the Ministry of Civil Defence website. For local information, the Civil Defence Emergency Management Group website provides information across our district. Check with NZTA for updates on road conditions.