The Chief Ombudsman is fast-tracking inspections of aged care facilities after the deaths of several residents from Covid-19.
After being confirmed as an essential service, Peter Boshier said his office would ensure facilities were doing all could to protect residents from the virus, while respecting their human rights.
He said he was concerned at reports of families being unable to see their loved ones in aged care.
"My team will visit a variety of secure aged care facilities across the country, the team will be small, and they will be tightly focussed," he said, adding they would follow pandemic guidelines aligned with UN advice and would wear protective gear.
"The team will inspect the facility and talk to managers, residents and staff. They may also make contact with family and whānau by phone."
He said he would continue to monitor other detention facilities such as prisons.
"The advice I have received internationally is that across the world, the rights of people kept under detention are more at risk during this terrible crisis rather than less. As the New Zealand Parliament's watchdog for people detained in secure aged care facilities, I must act now."