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Govt requires travellers from everywhere except Australia, the Pacific and Antarctica to present a negative COVID-19 test result before coming to NZ

Govt requires travellers from everywhere except Australia, the Pacific and Antarctica to present a negative COVID-19 test result before coming to NZ
Image sourced from Pixabay

Travellers from most parts of the world will now need to be tested for COVID-19 before getting on a plane to New Zealand.

The Government is extending its pre-departure testing to all passengers entering New Zealand, except for those from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands.

Those arriving after 11:59pm on Monday, January 25 need to have received a negative test result from an accredited laboratory within 72 hours before departure. They need to present this result to Customs on arrival in New Zealand.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins last week said the Government was preparing to implement the rule.

The rule has applied to travellers from the UK and US from January 15. Hipkins said compliance had been high so far.

From February 8, travellers who break the rules will by fined up to $1000.

“The primary obligation is on passengers to comply, but airlines are also expected to play a key role in checking documentation where practicable at the start of someone’s journey," Hipkins said.

“Given the high rates of infection in many countries, most global air routes are of critical concern for the foreseeable future.

“The expansion of Day 0/1 testing at Managed Isolation and Quarantine to all passengers to New Zealand – except for those coming from Australia, Antarctica or most Pacific Islands – is now in operation. All travellers are still required to complete 14 days mandatory isolation, including routine Day 3 and Day 12 tests.”

Countries and territories exempt from the pre-departure test requirement include:

  • Antarctica
  • Australia
  • The Cook Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • New Caledonia
  • Niue
  • Palau
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
  • Wallis and Futuna

Hipkins said other countries may be added to the exclusion list should their situations change.  

More information on pre-departure testing

Children under two will be exempt from pre-departure testing. 

Passengers transiting through the UK and US for less than 96 hours before departing for New Zealand will also be exempt "for now", according to Hipkins.

Other exemptions will apply to people with medical conditions and those who can present a medical certificate confirming they have recovered from Covid-19 and are no longer infectious.

RT-PCR tests, LAMP and viral antigen tests will be accepted.

Hipkins said travellers affected by the new rule should work with airlines to rebook flights and contact MIQ for information about their booking.

“If New Zealanders overseas require consular assistance due to travel disruption, they should contact their nearest embassy or consulate," he said.

“We have also decided that in rare cases, the requirement of a test 72 hours in advance may be extended to 96 hours if a person’s flight has been delayed or cancelled, or test results haven’t been received in time. In this situation, the flight must be rescheduled or rebooked to depart within 24 hours.

“We’ll continue to communicate details around the new requirements via covid19.govt.nz and Unite Against COVID-19 social media, website, the SafeTravel website, and directly to airlines."

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12 Comments

"Hey the barn door is open". Where has that bloody horse gone?"

Still in the barn, munching on the hay

Long time coming, this.
Just a fine for those coming in without the medical clearance ? That seems a slap on the wrist.
Why not fine the Airlines too with $10k for each such passenger brought in ? Any why only from Feb 8 ?
Hope they implement it well.

Again, the “up to $1,000” fine seems so lame – the government picking up a few extra $$’s is of little relevance in terms of continuing to maintain a healthy populace and healthy economy.

The point of this exercise is to further safeguard our borders – I would have thought it should be simply mandatory for those applicable to have a negative test – no negative test then “no fly” – period.

Enforcement may possibly be an issue – it can’t be insurmountable surely.

As the other commentators say - far too late.
Before now we should have also closed our borders to the UK, USA, India and South Africa. Other countries have. We have far more to loose than them, as we have no community spread.

They should think about using a rapid antigen test at the airline checkin counter. They only take 15minutes and are 90% accurate when the person is most contagious. They are also inexpensive. Major pharmaceutical companies like Abbot are making them.
https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2021/01/18/canada-has-tens-of-m...

I think that is preferable, too many opportunities in 72 hours to contract the disease. Also rapid antigen test can be confined to being done in a far, far more reliable manner, little chance to cheat the system.
My fear is that having pre-flight tests might see us easing up a bit here, whereas we have to stay as tight as is humanly possible, test or no test.

I wonder if in the back half of the year govt will entertain an Aus travel bubble?

Oh I'm sure they'll entertain it publicly every time they need a distraction from something going wrong at home.

As for when it would actually happen, that's a different kettle of fish.

Yea true, just like the Cook Island one..

Six tested positive in yesterdays release. Five were positive on day 0/1 which means they were probably transmiting the virus whilst travelling. Those five were from the UK (3) and USA (2) and all may well have the more contagious Covid. Were they fined? We don't know as the media releases don't say. And if they were did they really care?

Time to put the community first rather than individuals rights I think.

Negative test certificates for sale, street vendor number 5 offering lowest price today.