10 March 2020

As COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) continues to evolve around the world, the Ministry of Health website remains the best place to check for the most up to date information.

Their website contains advice for the public including information on how the virus spreads, prevention (including face mask and hygiene advice), symptoms, home care, contact tracing and self-isolation.

There is a section for health professionals which provides more detail on the current case definitions, managing suspected and confirmed cases in primary care, the role of face masks in health settings, and specific questions and answers for primary health care workers.

The Ministry have produced other resources that may be useful for pharmacies including posters about preventing infection, information sheets for the general public about COVID-19, and the following social media images:

The Ministry of Health is promoting basic hygiene messages and providing updates via their social media channels, which could be shared if you use social media for your pharmacy - @minhealthnz on Facebook and Twitter.

Messaging to your customers/patients with posters

For the safety of staff and other patients, pharmacies should make clear that people who potentially have a COVID-19 infection should not enter the pharmacy.

  • If people need advice about COVID-19, they should phone the special Healthline number 0800 358 5453
  • If they need something from the pharmacy, they should phone to arrange instead of presenting in the pharmacy.

To help you put this messaging in place, on Friday we provided a PDF poster via a Practice e-mail. We have now set up a COVID-19 section on our web site where you can find the poster and where we will post any other pharmacy-specific resources that we produce.

Consider other communication channels

Pharmacies may consider other channels to communicate information to their customers. For example, you may have a Facebook page or website via which you can advise people about other ways to interact with your pharmacy if they need to.

We will post an adapted version of the poster about not entering a pharmacy if you may have a COVID-19 infection on our Facebook page in the coming days which you may wish to share with your followers.

Educating pharmacy staff

Pharmacy staff are an important resource for educating the public and helping to minimise spread of COVID-19. The resources on the Ministry of Health website designed for the public will be useful for educating your staff so they can reinforce Ministry advice when people seek information in the pharmacy.

What’s coming next?

Tomorrow we will look at the role of face masks and other personal protective equipment in the pharmacy.


Manager Practice and Policy: Chris Jay
Professional Practice Pharmacist: Chloë Campbell