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Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ

Photo: File/SunLive.

The government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

Passengers from any destination excluding Australia, Antarctica and some Pacific Island nations will be required to undergo day one testing upon arrival in New Zealand.

This expands on measures already in place for passengers from the UK and US.

"Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that most global air routes will be of critical concern for the foreseeable future, and we must respond strongly to the evolving situation," says Hipkins.

"New Zealand is currently in a very fortunate position with no community cases - let alone of new variant types - but we take nothing for granted.

"That’s why we continue to take action, with very specific steps to further strengthen our response at the air border”

He says it will be progressively introduced at Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facilities over three days, starting from Monday January 18. Routine Day 3 and Day 12 tests will continue.

Hipkins has also signed further amendments to our Air Border Order which include:

From 11.59pm on Friday January 15, travellers arriving on all flights from the UK and US must have had a negative test result for COVID-19 in the 72 hours before their departure/

The Director-General of Health is now formally authorised to and will soon expand the pre-departure test requirement to all countries and territories excluding Australia, Antarctica and some Pacific Island nations.

"New Zealand already has some of the most stringent border protection measures in the world. Today’s amendments further strengthen that position in line with the Government’s overall elimination strategy," Hipkins says.

Information and support for overseas arrivals

Children under two will be exempt from pre-departure testing

Passengers transiting through the UK and US for not more than 96 hours before departing for New Zealand will be exempt for now from pre-departure testing

RT-PCR tests, LAMP and viral antigen tests will all be accepted for pre-departure testing

All tests must be processed at a laboratory

A hard copy or electronic copy of the test result from an accredited laboratory will be acceptable documentation of a negative test

From January 29, arriving in New Zealand without evidence of a negative approved test or medical certificate would incur an infringement offence fee or a fine not exceeding $1,000.

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6 Comments
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@Slim Shady

Posted on 14-01-2021 13:36 | By morepork

I agree with your posts on this. It IS weak and wishy washy to test 3 days before boarding and with all kinds of exceptions making loopholes in it. They should be tested at the airport IMMEDIATELY before boarding ANY flight that stops in NZ. It is feasible with 15 minute testing now available. I see the measures outlined as "marginally better than nothing". I agree with you also about the vaccine. We should be doing much better.

The real questions..

Posted on 13-01-2021 08:30 | By

..are, why is NZ so slow in rolling out a vaccine? What data are they looking at that US, EU and UK haven’t already scrutinised? The answer is none because really they are all at the beach. The vaccine should be getting rolled out to MIQ staff now, not April or May or whenever they get round to it. And why haven’t we bought the cheap UK monkey vaccine? Why have we signed a deal with a vaccine that is still in trials and won’t be available for nearly a year? Incompetent MoH and Government.

Slow

Posted on 12-01-2021 19:22 | By Kancho

Seems we are slow in ramping up now far more infectious strain is spreading One mistake at our border or quarantine just like Australia could put us back into serious lockdown mode. So why the pussyfooting with restrictions. Thought we were well ahead with vaccine being ordered and pre paid. So why so slow getting into the country? If it’s like the normal flu Jab roll out its going to take a very long time and a shambles. Are we planned to prioritize who how and when it’s delivered or will it be a free for all where the less vunerable jump the queues. Front line, medically vunerable elderly should be first.

Holiday is over

Posted on 12-01-2021 18:27 | By Johnney

OMG the holiday is over.

Red Alert

Posted on 12-01-2021 17:03 | By

Well it’s come to something when you shut the door on stranded Kiwis, but you welcome in Russian agents masquerading as fishermen.

Smoke

Posted on 12-01-2021 16:09 | By

It all sounds a bit wishy washy. It has more holes in it than a sieve and it’s only been done to appease the hysterical mob, and it shows. The risk will be lessened by such a negligible amount it won’t be properly enforced, hence the backstop of a small fee for those who do arrive without a test. I do like the term “suite” though. They’ll be calling MIQ hotels ‘boutique’ accommodation next week. That gives me an idea, Peter Jackson could do a film, “The Best Exotic Marigold MIQ Hotel in the World”. Starring Tom Hanks and Nicole Kidman. Tom is in Oz at the moment so no need to pre test them. We need to strike whilst we are the envy of the world. Forget chasing possums, Wellywood is where it’s at.