COVID-19 Response

ESR’s multi-disciplinary team are providing expertise to support the national response to the global pandemic.

Primary areas of work:


Contact the team

0800 ESR MEDIA (0800 377 633) or 027 405 8644

or email


COVID-19 health intelligence services

ESR performs public health surveillance of infectious diseases of concern on behalf of the Ministry of Health. As part of this crucial function, ESR is currently providing national and international health intelligence to the Ministry and the wider health sector about the global pandemic of COVID-19.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. It is a respiratory infection that can affect your lungs and airways. The latest COVID-19 heath advice can be found on the Ministry of Health webpage.
(external link)

New to the page:

The New Zealand COVID-19 intelligence dashboard (external link)

The dashboard provides information for the public on: the number of cases over time, a map of the cases by district health board, the age, sex and ethnicity of cases; and the source case (whether they are linked to international travel or contact with a known case).

Producing Intelligence updates and risk assessments

ESR produces intelligence updates every 48 hours to the Ministry of Health which incorporate international and national disease activity and emerging evidence to inform the national response.

ESR produces comprehensive risk assessments to the Ministry. This incorporates significant new information as it emerges.

COVID-19 in New Zealand (summary report)

Current influenza surveillance intelligence

ESR maintains a number of surveillance systems to provide a timely and comprehensive understanding of respiratory virus activity and severity in New Zealand. Learn more about the Influenza (flu) and other respiratory virus surveillance systems and methods used for sample testing and analysis.

View the Influenza Dashboard.

Enhancing national surveillance

ESR is working closely with the Ministry of Health to enhance communicable disease surveillance for COVID-19. ESR staff have been developing and leading the roll out of significant national programmes, including enhanced surveillance for COVID-19, training for public health unit staff, establishing a clinical data repository and planning around national laboratory coordination.

  • For further information on ESR's Health intelligence and disease surveillance - CLICK HERE

Maintaining the national database 

EpiSurv(external link) (New Zealand’s national notifiable diseases database) collects and analyses information on any suspect, probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection reported from around the country. The information collected from cases allows WHO, New Zealand and countries to better understand this new illness and target specific measures.

  • For further information on EpiSurv and providing surveillance on notifiable diseases - CLICK HERE

COVID-19 eLearning

ESR’s online learning modules(external link) provide essential knowledge for case investigation of COVID-19 for public health response staff and offers up to date resource support to Public Health Unit staff working on the COVID-19 response.

Image: CDC Atlanta
ESR scientist preparing a polymerase chain reaction test as part of diagnostic laboratory testing for 2019 novel coronavirus v4

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) diagnostic testing

This service is for samples sent by medical professionals only. ESR does not test patients onsite for COVID-19.

Read more
CIMS response room 2 v2

COVID-19 team

An overview of the coordinated incident management system team for COVID-19

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Wastewater extracts

Other COVID-19 work

A snapshot of additional work for COVID-19

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