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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