COVID-19 is caused by a virus known as SARS-CoV-2. The virus emerged in late 2019, joining the SARS and MERS viruses and four ‘common cold’ coronaviruses as the seventh known human coronavirus. Following its detection in December 2019, SARS-CoV-2 rapidly spread around the globe and continues to threaten public health today.
The World Health Organisation has produced a timeline of key international events from the first year and a half of the pandemic and a New Zealand thinktank continues to update a timeline of key COVID-19 events in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Last updated: 9 February 2022
With the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out across Aotearoa New Zealand, we have curated a list of annotated links to trusted information about COVID-19 vaccines.
Science in emergencies: COVID-19 documentaries
By independent filmmaker Shirley Horrocks
Prepared under urgency
Please note that many of these documents reflect current information at a particular point in time, during a rapidly evolving situation.
Israel: Vaccine roll-out and border restrictions – 2 June 2021
A short document detailing the vaccination situation and border restrictions in Israel.
Download ‘Israel: Vaccine roll-out and border restrictions’ (PDF, 284KB)
Can SARS-CoV-2 survive in refrigerated environments – and for how long? – 20 October 2020
A short document on the highly uncertain evidence base for the possibility of SASR-CoV-2 transmission via the cold supply chain. This has been updated with new information on 20 October 2020.
Download ‘Can SARS-CoV-2 survive in refrigerated environments – and for how long?’ (PDF, 208KB)
Rapid review: The role of genomics – 21 September 2020
A commissioned rapid review on the role of COVID-19 genomics in contact tracing, cluster analysis and viral evolution. Produced under urgency by lead author Professor Michael Bunce, Chief Scientist at the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) – Te Mana Rauhī Taiao.
Download the report ‘The role of COVID-19 genomics’ (PDF, 5MB)
COVID-19 vaccines – 7 September 2020
A summary of COVID-19 vaccine development efforts including the different approaches, potential challenges, and the current frontrunners.
Download the ‘COVID-19 vaccines’ report (updated 7 September 2020) (PDF, 1MB)
Download the ‘COVID-19 vaccines’ report (updated 16 July 2020) (PDF, 941KB)
Download the ‘COVID-19 vaccines’ report (21 May 2020 version) (PDF, 793KB)
Masks prevent the spread of COVID-19 – 13 August 2020
A short document on the evidence base for mask wearing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 plus explanation of the different types of masks.
Download ‘Masks prevent the spread of COVID-19’ (PDF, 202KB)
COVID-19 and vitamin D – 2 June 2020
Produced by Cherie Tollemache, one of our MacDiarmid interns, this report summarises the evidence for a link between vitamin D status and COVID-19 severity.
Download the ‘COVID-19 and vitamin D’ report (PDF, 867KB)
COVID-19 and seasonality – 18 May 2020
Produced by Stephen Lo, one of our MacDiarmid interns, this report examines the role of climate and weather in the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Download the ‘COVID-19 and seasonality’ report (PDF, 375KB)
Is SARS-CoV-2 airborne? – 14 May 2020
This short summary describes research investigating whether an airborne transmission route is possible for SARS-CoV-2 and what role this might play in the progression of the pandemic.
Download the report ‘Is SARS-CoV-2 airborne?’ (PDF, 191KB)
Serology testing for COVID-19 antibodies – 29 April 2020
Focusing specifically on antibody testing, this review builds on the paper below led by Professor Michael Bunce, Chief Scientist at the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) – Te Mana Rauhī Taiao.
Download the report ‘Serology testing for the presence of antibodies against COVID-19’ (PDF, 496KB)
Testing for COVID-19 – 30 March 2020
A commissioned review on COVID-19 testing methods, produced under urgency by lead author Professor Michael Bunce, Chief Scientist at the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) – Te Mana Rauhī Taiao.
Download the report ‘Testing for COVID-19’ (PDF, 880KB)
Download the appendices for the report (PDF, 2.41MB)
Below are links to advisory information provided to the Prime Minister during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
October 2021: The PM requested that Juliet and Ian Town convene an expert group to provide feedback on an earlier iteration of the traffic light system for COVID-19 protection once vaccination targets are reached. The final system is significantly strengthened compared to the consultation draft which was shared with the group. You can read the feedback provided under urgency here (PDF, 309KB)
Download the July – September 2021 advice bundle (PDF, 3MB)
Download the December 2020 – June 2021 advice bundle (PDF, 410KB)
Download the September/October/November 2020 advice bundle (PDF, 2MB)
Download the June/July/August advice bundle (PDF, 4MB)
Download the May advice bundle (PDF, 693KB)
Download the April advice bundle (PDF, 6MB)
NZ to shift to COVID-19 traffic light system
Aotearoa New Zealand will soon shift to a new COVID-19 'traffic light' system. Juliet speaks about science advice and feedback provided to inform the new framework.
NZ tops world for trust in scientists, govt – study
Aotearoa New Zealand's trust in scientists is among the highest in the world, according to a new study. Juliet spoke to science journalist Jamie Morton at the NZ Herald about the findings.
Who is who in the Government’s Covid-19 response team
Meet some of the key players in the Government's COVID-19 response.
Delta Skelter: ‘A formidable enemy’ – inside the battle and what the Govt knew when
The behind-the-scenes story in the lead-up to our Delta COVID-19 outbreak, as told by NZ Herald journalist Matt Nippert.
Reconnecting New Zealanders to the World
Read selected media coverage on the Reconnecting New Zealanders to the World Forum, emceed by Juliet.
How New Zealand’s COVID success made it a laboratory for the world
Universal genome sequencing and exquisitely detailed tracing of COVID-19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand offers unique insights into how COVID-19 spreads.
New short film on genome sequencing released
How is Aotearoa New Zealand using genome sequencing in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Watch the latest documentary from independent filmmaker Shirley Horrocks.
A rubbish story: COVID waste worries
A Newsroom article on the surge in waste and single-use plastics generated by the COVID-19 pandemic features commentary from Rachel.
NZ should be doing ‘everything possible’ to get genomic sequence of every sample
EPA Chief Scientist Professor Michael Bunce spoke to RNZ's Morning Report about his rapid review on genomics for COVID-19.
The role of genomic sequencing in responding to Auckland’s COVID-19 outbreak
A new rapid review outlines the strengths and areas for improvement in Aotearoa New Zealand's application of genomics in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aotearoa New Zealand’s genome sequencing efforts ‘world leading’
A new rapid review on COVID-19 genome sequencing has described New Zealand's efforts as 'world-leading' – but there's still room for improvement.
Using genetic fingerprints in our COVID-19 response
We reflect on the role of genome sequencing in the most recent COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland as the EPA Chief Scientist Professor Michael Bunce publishes a rapid review on the topic.
The five burning questions facing NZ
When will we have a vaccine? And are our borders sufficiently secure now? Science reporter Jamie Morton spoke to Juliet and other scientists to answer five burning coronavirus questions facing NZ.
Short documentary on COVID-19 pandemic response released
The doco, by independent filmmaker Shirley Horrocks, features key players in Aotearoa's COVID-19 response.
Sharing COVID-19 experiences: The New Zealand response
Juliet was interviewed for a short World Health Organization video on Aotearoa New Zealand's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Experts urge caution on reports of new virus strain
Reports of a more transmissible strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus should be interpreted with caution, says Juliet.
Seven science heroes of the pandemic
Juliet features alongside six other scientists who were instrumental in Aotearoa New Zealand's COVID-19 pandemic response in this NZ Herald article.
Aotearoa New Zealand celebrates as country moves into COVID-19 Alert Level 1
Juliet's celebratory single malt was one of many joyous reactions shared across NZ as coronavirus restrictions lifted.
Target: elimination – experts rate NZ’s response in COVID-19 battle
New Zealand Herald science reporter Jamie Morton asks Juliet and three other experts to rate Aotearoa New Zealand's response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
When can we re-open our borders?
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages offshore, how does Aotearoa New Zealand decide to reopen our borders and what constitutes an acceptable level of risk?
Bubbles, borders and risk: What does common sense look like in a global pandemic?
Juliet and Rachel reflect on the risks of reopening Aotearoa New Zealand's borders in the midst of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus NZ podcast: Extended interview with PM’s chief science advisor
Juliet joined Stuff's Coronavirus NZ podcast, giving an inside glimpse into New Zealand's COVID-19 response – and revealing her lockdown baking habits.
COVID-19, crisis and transformation
In this interview with for The Spinoff, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern discusses the pandemic response and Juliet's critical role.
NZ Herald speaks to PM’s Chief Science Advisor about pandemic response
Juliet spoke to New Zealand Herald investigations reporter Matt Nippert about Aotearoa New Zealand's pandemic plan.
How and when we exit alert level four
At the half way point of the four-week-long level four COVID-19 lockdown, Juliet talks to Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon about how and when we exit the strictest level.
Navigating a public disagreement between scientists
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, some scientists disagreed over the approach Aotearoa New Zealand should take. But such debates are a healthy part of how science works.
COVID-19 coronavirus: In crisis, Kiwis are more likely to trust experts
The New Zealand Herald's science reporter Jamie Morton spoke to Juliet about separating "the fact from the fudge" during the COVID-19 crisis.
COVID-19 data: Why we need to look behind the numbers
As the number of cases of COVID-19 skyrockets globally it’s tempting to dive into the wealth of data updated daily on the internet. But we need to be cautious about interpreting the data.
COVID-19: Chief Science Advisor on effect of global lockdowns
Juliet speaks to Lisa Owen on RNZ about the worldwide measures that will hopefully curb the rate of Covid-19 transmission in New Zealand, as the country prepares for lockdown.
Q&A on COVID-19 with PM Jacinda Ardern and Dr Michelle Dickinson
Juliet sat down with the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Dr Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl) for a Q&A session on the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak. The video has received more than 1.8 million views.
Banner images: NIAID/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)