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Four travellers fined for entering NZ without test

Customs figures showed the vast majority of the roughly 15,000 people who arrived had complied. File photo.

Only four travellers have been fined for coming to the country without a pre-departure Covid-19 test.

Since mid-January, people arriving in New Zealand from most countries have had to prove they had a negative test before their flight - or risk a fine of up to $1000.

Customs figures showed the vast majority of the roughly 15,000 people who arrived had complied.

But it has also issued 33 warnings - most of them shortly after the rule was introduced.

Ten people who arrived on the same flight with Covid-19 this week all had pre-departure test certificates.

The Ministry of Health says the quality of testing varies around the world and it's looking into whether some of those cases were historical.

Fake pre-departure certificates are not "regarded as a significant issue," a spokesperson says.

There's little solid evidence of the benefits of pre-departure testing to keeping numbers low in managed isolation, she says.

"A traveller can return a completely authentic negative test before travelling, but won't catch a diagnosis particularly during the early stages of infection," she says.

A managed isolation and quarantine spokesperson says they knew of 40 people who had cancelled their spot in managed isolation because their pre-departure test had been positive.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the 10 cases highlighted the shortcomings of pre-departure tests which could be done 72 hours before people left.

-RNZ/Rowan Quinn.

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3 Comments
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Fine the airline

Posted on 30-03-2021 13:04 | By Johnney

How bloody soft are our people who control the borders. Fine the airline for allowing them to get on the flight. Return them where they came from. Time to get tough and not put up with this nonsense.

Fast tests would be much better.

Posted on 30-03-2021 12:47 | By morepork

There are tests available now that give results in minutes and can be done by untrained people. They are not comprehensive tests but they DO show how infectious you are. Some of these tests now are showing 93% for people with Ct levels below 30% (Innova and BinaxNOW), which means they are detecting low levels of infection where the virus load is small, as well as large loads. But they are just an indicator, as there is controversy surrounding the ways labs in the US and UK differed in their baselines and interpretations when testing these tests. But, for passenger boarding they would be ideal. It removes the 3 day wait and indicates whether there is viral load present NOW. If there is, a fuller test could then be taken, and embarkation postponed.

peanuts

Posted on 30-03-2021 12:21 | By hapukafin

What a pathetic fine $1000,they are in the country where they wanted to be.They should be deported.How did they manage to get on the plane?