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HealthInfo Canterbury

FAQs about asymptomatic COVID-19 testing

Ngā pātai tohumate o te Mate Korona

Asymptomatic testing is when you're tested for COVID-19 but don’t have any of the symptoms commonly seen in COVID-19. Asymptomatic testing is only done to certain groups of people and is directed by the Ministry of Health and Public Health Units.

It's used in groups where there's a higher risk of having COVID-19. It can pick up the small number of cases that don't develop symptoms or are in the early stages of the infection. It's used alongside infection prevention measures to keep you, your whānau/family and community safe.

Who should have asymptomatic testing?

Members of the public usually don't need asymptomatic testing. But the Ministry of Health may sometimes ask for a sample of people to be tested. This is to let them know if there's any undetected spread in the community. This is known as community surveillance.

Do I need to self-isolate after asymptomatic testing?

Testing category


Self-isolation details

Community surveillance



Border staff



International flight crew


Self-isolate until you receive your test result.

Casual contacts of COVID-19 cases


Self-isolate until you receive your test result.

Close contacts of COVID-19 cases


Self-isolate for 14 days from your last contact with the case. If your result is negative, repeat the result on day 12.

See the Ministry of Health advice about self-isolation.


Everyone, including border workers, should have a COVID-19 test if they develop cold or flu symptoms. You should also stay away from work if you have these symptoms.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created August 2020.

See also:

Self-isolation after COVID-19 testing

Page reference: 785664

Review key: HICOV-710714