Covid border cases jump by 20 in 24 hours
Today, the Ministry of Health is reporting 43 Covid cases identified at the border, a jump from 23 cases yesterday.
"While whole genome sequencing of these cases is expected soon, the likelihood is that Omicron will continue to be the most prevalent variant at our borders," says a statement from the MOH.
"This variant of Covid-19 continues to be having a significant impact globally, so it is not unexpected to see an increase of Omicron cases at the border.
"In the past 24 hours we saw an increase in the number of New Zealanders getting first and second vaccinations and a jump in booster shots.
"These increases included an extra 904 first vaccinations, 3191 second vaccinations and an additional 35,837 booster shots and a total of 41,165 booster shots administered in total yesterday.
"The jump in booster shots was of course expected as those who’d had their second vaccine four months ago became eligible for a booster shot from yesterday. There were also more than twice as many My Vaccine passes downloaded in the last 24 hours than the previous day (17,609 total)."
Changes to pre-departure testing
From tomorrow, pre-departure testing requirements for entry into New Zealand will change with a requirement for a PCR test from within 72 hours to within 48 hours of departure.
A temporary exemption has also been granted by the Acting Director General of Health.
This means travellers coming from 105 specified countries and jurisdictions where obtaining a PCR test may be difficult or not possible, can instead provide evidence of a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) or loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) test result, says the MOH.
"This will need to be taken within 24 hours of departure and all tests must be supervised by a health professional, which includes pharmacists, and verified in writing in the jurisdiction of origin.
"The places which are exempt from the requirement for a PCR test within 48 hours of departure, and for which a RAT or LAMP test is allowed as an alternative to a PCR test are available on the Unite Against Covid-19 website. The changes to pre-departure testing were announced by Government last year."