Hospital visitors don’t need a Vaccine Pass, but must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests current case numbers in regions of Canterbury and care in the community advice. See for info about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
19 April 2022

For visitors to all facilities effective from Tuesday 19 April 2022

With the change to the ORANGE Traffic Light setting, Canterbury DHB is easing its visitor policy in recognition of the fact we have passed the peak of the current Omicron outbreak and case numbers are slowly reducing.

The following visitor restrictions are now in place for all Canterbury DHB hospitals and health facilities:

  • One adult visitor may be accompanied by no more than one child over the age of 12 per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.  No children under 12 and those 12 and over must be accompanied by an adult and wear a medical mask.
  • Visitors or support people should not visit our facilities if they are unwell.
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all Canterbury DHB sites and will be provided if people don’t have them.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By adhering to these conditions, you help keep our patients, staff, other visitors and yourself safe. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as our staff work hard to protect and care for some of the most vulnerable in our community.

Exceptions to the ‘one visitor’ policy

  • Exceptions can apply in some circumstances (ie more than one visitor) where a trusted whānau member provides assistance, reassurance and other support for therapeutic care or on compassionate grounds – please talk to the ward’s Charge Nurse to discuss this before you come to hospital to visit. For whānau with an essential support role as a Partner in Care – please check with the ward’s Charge Nurse before you come to hospital to visit
  • People attending Christchurch ED or Ashburton AAU can have one support person with them
  • Women in labour and in the birthing suite can have two support people, and women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Womens Hospital and other maternity units. Only one support person can be with each woman in the maternity ward, and one support person for maternity clinic appointments, no children are allowed to visit.
  • Parents/caregivers can be with their baby in NICU.
  • Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital (Except Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day patients where only one parent or caregiver is permitted, following a supervised negative RAT result)
  • Children who are inpatients, one other visitor (other than a parent or caregiver) is able to visit in consultation with the nurse in charge.
  • People requiring support when attending an appointment can have one support person. Please let the relevant service know if you need this so they are able to accommodate your request.

Exceptions for people with disabilities

An exception will be made for people with disabilities who are in hospital or have to attend an outpatient appointment – where they need a support person to access health services. For example, a sign language interpreter, support person for someone with a learning disability, or someone to assist with mobility. The support person is in addition to the one permitted visitor.

Face covering exemption cards

The Exemptions Team at the Ministry of Health is now responsible for processing requests for Face Covering Communication Cards.

Updated information about mask wearing, and how to request an exemption card can now be found here. People unable to request an exemption card online can call 0800 28 29 26 and select option 2, or text 8988

Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

More COVID-19 information

Canterbury Measles Outbreak – what you need to know…

News and information about the measles outbreak

Tuesday 7 January 2020 - New measles case confirmed in Canterbury

Tuesday 1 October 2019 - New measles case confirmed in Canterbury

Friday 13 September 2019 - Measles case confirmed in Canterbury

Thursday 25 July 2019 - Measles case confirmed in Canterbury

Thursday 13 June 2019 - Plane passengers exposed to measles on flight JQ237 from Auckland to Christchurch departing on 6 June 2019 and from Christchurch to Auckland on Flight JQ236 departing on 8 June 2019

About the Measles outbreak in Canterbury from February to May 2019

On Thursday 16 May 2019 Canterbury health authorities declared the measles outbreak that started in the region on 16 February officially over. For more information see our news page Canterbury measles outbreak declared officially over

A summary of cases in the 2019 Canterbury Measles Outbreak (PDF, 50KB) is available to download and read.

Wednesday 29 May 2019 - 2019 Canterbury Measles Outbreak - A summary of cases (PDF, 50KB)

Thursday 16 May 2019 - Canterbury measles outbreak declared officially over

Friday 29 March 2019 - Next steps for measles vaccine campaign

Wednesday 27 March 2019 - Plane passengers exposed to measles on flight VA99 from Melbourne to Christchurch on Tuesday 19 March 2019

Thursday 21 March 2019 - Measles continues to spread in Canterbury

Monday 18 March 2019 - Canterbury measles update – 30 cases and one under investigation

Thursday 14 March 2019 - Canterbury Measles update – 28 cases and 12 under investigation

Wednesday 13 March 2019 - Measles vaccines arrive in Canterbury

Monday 11 March 2019 - Twenty five measles cases now confirmed in Canterbury

Thursday 7 March 2019 – Fourteen measles cases now confirmed in Canterbury

Monday 4 March 2019 – Seven measles cases now confirmed in Canterbury

Friday 1 March 2019 – Fifth measles case confirmed in Canterbury

Thursday 28 February 2019 – Fourth measles case confirmed in Canterbury

Tuesday 26 February 2019 – Measles cases confirmed in Canterbury

How does measles spread?

Measles is a highly infectious virus that spreads easily from person to person through the air, via breathing, coughing and sneezing. It affects both children and adults.

It is spread through droplets in the air and through contact, so that anyone unimmunised who has been in the same room as someone with measles will likely get it

Anyone with measles needs to be isolated from the time they become ill until 5 days after the rash has appeared. It is extremely important to stay in isolation if you’re asked to do so, to protect vulnerable people including babies, pregnant women, cancer patients and others who are unable to be immunised.

What are the symptoms of measles?

Measles symptoms are:

  • Cough or runny nose or conjunctivitis
  • Fever above 38.50c
  • A rash

If you’re sick stay home – this is good advice if you have any respiratory or flu-like illness. Telephone your GP for advice – do not go to your GP in person as you may spread the illness to other people in the waiting room. Remember in Canterbury you can call your own General Practice after hours – and be put through to a nurse who can provide free health advice.

Who are the priorities for vaccination?

The most effective way to stop the spread of measles is to vaccinate those aged 12 months to 28 years old who have never received an MMR vaccine.

To prevent the transmission of measles, and to protect those most at risk of having serious complications from measles, from 28 March 2019 a wider group of people became eligible to receive a second MMR vaccination:

  • all those aged 12months - 28 years
  • caregivers of infants aged up to 12 months
  • those between 29 and 50 who work with children

Who is protected from measles?

People who have had two MMR vaccinations (typically given at 15months and 4 years) are considered immune from measles.

People born before 1969 will have been exposed to the measles virus and will have acquired immunity.

Those born between 1969 and 1990 were only offered one measles vaccination are considered to have a good level of protection - a single dose of the MMR typically provides protection against measles to 95% of people vaccinated. The immunity of this population is much higher than previously thought.

Should people attend large events?

If you were born after 1969 and are feeling unwell with measles-like symptoms, or have never been vaccinated against the measles, we are encouraging these people to stay away from large gatherings.

Those who have never been vaccinated need to be aware that measles is circulating in the community.

There is a real risk that unvaccinated people born after 1969 will catch the measles if they attend large gatherings where someone who is infectious with measles is present. You are infectious before you get a rash, so in the early stages it’s impossible to tell who might be developing measles and unknowingly spreading the virus.

Should babies under 12 months attend preschool/events?

Those under 12months cannot be vaccinated so caregivers need to exercise caution about where they go and who they meet with.

We are not stopping gatherings from happening but parents of those who are not vaccinated need to be aware that measles is circulating in the community and the unvaccinated are at risk.

Ultimately, we need herd immunity (95% vaccine uptake) for measles not to spread to those who can’t be vaccinated – such as babies under 12months, pregnant women, and those whose immune systems are compromised, such as those undergoing chemotherapy.

What to do if there’s been a case of measles in a school or pre-school?

Most students in Canterbury have good immunity against measles.

Health authorities will be in contact with any school or early childhood education centre where there has been a confirmed case and advise accordingly.

If there is a confirmed case at their preschool, child care centre or school, then parents should keep their unimmunised child at home.

What to do if there’s been a case of measles in a workplace?

Most people in workplaces are likely to have good immunity against measles. Those born before 1969, and those born after 1992 who have had two MMR vaccinations, are considered immune from measles. Most people aged between 29 and 50 have received one dose – one MMR protects 95% of people against developing measles.

Health authorities will be in contact with a workplace where there has been a confirmed case and advise accordingly.

Can pregnant women get vaccinated?

Pregnant women cannot be immunised with MMR as it is a live vaccine. See details at

Instead, pregnant women who are not immune and who have come into contact with a measles case within six days will be given immunoglobulin which confers passive immunity.

What if my baby is too young to be vaccinated?

Babies whose mother is immune will have some protection if they are currently being breastfed.

Babies under 12 months can also get immunoglobulin if they have been exposed to a case within six days. For sustained immunity they will still need to receive two MMR vaccines from the age of 12 months.

For children who are too young to have had the measles vaccine it is advisable that they avoid group events, and that others in their household are vaccinated.

Are MMR vaccinations free?


How long does it take for the vaccination to work?

It takes two weeks for a person to be fully immune after a vaccination.


Page last updated: 13 January 2020

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