Tag Archives: before departure

Covid 19 coronavirus: The government is expanding pre-departure tests for more travelers | Instant News


The government has officially required nearly every traveler to New Zealand to test negative for Covid-19 before boarding a plane.

The new rules will come into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, January 25 – this is in an effort to minimize disruption to passengers leaving soon.

This regulation was signed last week by Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins. Previously, only travelers from the UK and US needed to test negative in order to come to New Zealand.

Starting January 25, it has been extended to any incoming tourists, except Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Island nations.

But not all Pacific Island countries are excluded – Papua New Guinea, which has nearly 1,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, is not on the list.

Likewise with French Polynesia, where 17,000 cases have been confirmed and 126 people have died from Covid-19.

Hipkins also said that the Government was “exploring several possibilities” whether they could get a small amount of the Covid-19 vaccine to frontline workers earlier than previously hinted at.

“If we can do it, we will be able to do it very quickly – but it all depends on whether the vaccine company will supply it,” he told a news conference this afternoon.

He would not elaborate because it is “quite a sensitive international negotiation”.

Hipkins said the new measures would not stop Covid from entering the country, but the government’s aim was to reduce the number of cases.

He said nearly all travelers had complied with the rules so far, and airlines were “very supportive”.

“New Zealand is not alone here – many countries are now proposing this.”

Hipkins said airlines have been vigilant to ensure travelers have followed the rules before they board their flights to NZ.

Asked about New Zealand’s access to the Covid vaccine, Hipkins said “we are very close to the front of the queue”. The first deliveries will arrive in the first quarter – “that’s the earliest time we can get … that’s the reality of manufacturing”.

Starting February 8, all passengers arriving in New Zealand – except those from exempt countries – without evidence of an approved negative test or medical certificate will be subject to an offense fee or a fine of up to $ 1000.

Hipkins said that so far only one person from the US or UK has not tested negative for Covid-19.

He added that airlines are increasingly refusing to board people who fail to produce negative tests.

But he said the Government could increase the fine if there was a higher level of non-compliance.

In addition to the new pre-departure requirements, the Government has also changed the rules surrounding Covid-19 testing in New Zealand’s managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities.

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From now on, travelers arriving to New Zealand will be required to take the test on arrival – again, except for Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Island countries.

They still have to undergo quarantine for 14 days, and undergo routine tests on the third and 12th day.

“New Zealand already has some of the strictest border protection measures in the world,” Hipkins said this morning.

“Today’s amendments further strengthen that position in line with the Government’s overall elimination strategy, and more actions can be added as needed.”

Asked about potential contact between people at MIQ facilities, such as in designated smoking areas, Hipkins said the Government has tightened social distancing measures.

Hipkins said the primary obligation was on travelers to comply with regulations – but airlines were also expected to play a role in checking whether passengers had negative test evidence.

Full list of countries and territories not included in the expanded pre-departure requirements:

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

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Covid 19 coronavirus: New Zealand requires pre-departure tests for UK, US travelers | Instant News


All travelers from the UK or the US will need a negative test result for Covid-19 before leaving for New Zealand, the Government has confirmed. Photo / Jason Oxenham

By RNZ

All travelers from the UK or the United States will need a negative test result for Covid-19 before leaving for New Zealand, the Government has confirmed today.

The new rules will take effect from January 15.

Covid-19 Countermeasure Chris Hipkins said work was already being done to expand the requirements to other long-haul flights to New Zealand.

“The new PCR test requirements, foreseen last week, will require travelers from the UK or US to have a written form, certified by a laboratory or other approved form of evidence that shows a negative result within 72 hours of departure,” Hipkins said.

“This will take effect on flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59 p.m. on January 15.

“Work is underway on similar measures for tourists taking most other long-distance routes to New Zealand. We hope to provide more details in the next week – once we get a more complete picture of testing regimes and capabilities in overseas jurisdictions.”

Earlier this week, the Government announced an extra day of Covid-19 testing, in addition to the third and 12th day of tests, as an extra layer of protection amid new variants of the virus emerging overseas.

But be warned that introducing a pre-departure Covid-19 test for desperate Kiwis trying to return home from high-risk countries could create unfair barriers.

Hipkins said the Government realizes the new requirements will add to the stress of travelers wishing to travel to New Zealand, but it will provide further reassurance for New Zealanders “at a time when infection from the virus appears to be accelerating overseas”.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins: "Work is underway on similar measures for travelers using most of the other long-distance routes to New Zealand."  Photo / Mark Mitchell
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins: “Work is being done on similar measures for travelers using most of the other long-distance routes to New Zealand.” Photo / Mark Mitchell

He said a “small number” of people may be released, including if they have a medical certificate verifying that they had been screened within 72 hours of their departure, but were unable to test for medical reasons and showed no Covid19 symptoms.

Hipkins said detailed plans were being developed with airlines and would be “widely communicated” by January 15.

“Enforcement will be managed by amending the New Zealand Air Border Order to make arrivals in New Zealand via the air border without evidence of a test being approved negatively as a breach of breach.

“We intend that the test will also have the added benefit of encouraging extra-cautious behavior before people fly and during flights and layovers that will minimize exposure to Covid-19.”

– RNZ

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Covid 19 coronavirus: The government warns against testing before departure | Instant News


New Zealand

New Zealand’s Covid-19 Resurgence – Timeline of events. Video / NZ Herald

By Jonathan Mitchell, from RNZ

The government has been warned against introducing a pre-departure Covid-19 test for desperate New Zealanders trying to return home from high-risk countries.

Yesterday, the Government announced the first day of extra Covid-19 test, in addition to the third and 12th day of tests, as an extra layer of protection amid new variants of the virus emerging overseas.

The tests will begin on December 31st.

But it’s the idea of ​​a pre-departure test that has some scratching their heads.

Keeping the virus out of New Zealand and, more importantly, the community remains a priority for the Government.

Keeping Covid-19 abroad remains a priority for the Government.  Photo / Mark Mitchell
Keeping Covid-19 abroad remains a priority for the Government. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The new proposals for pre-departure tests will include people traveling from the UK, where they have returned to lockdown due to the new variant of the virus.

Anyone asked to get a pre-departure test must pay for it themselves.

Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles says doing so can create unfair barriers.

“The problems that require testing are where people get the tests, how available they are, and how reliable the tests people get … and then there’s the problem of who can afford the tests,” Wiles said.

This may not stop the virus either, he said.

“There is no guarantee that when you get tested and the result is negative, you will not be positive on the way to the airport, or on the plane.”

Dr Siouxsie Wiles said mandating pre-departure tests could create unfair obstacles.  Photo / Arvid Eriksson
Dr Siouxsie Wiles said mandating pre-departure tests could create unfair obstacles. Photo / Arvid Eriksson

Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins called the pre-departure test an extra hurdle, and said it should not be taken lightly.

The government will not leave people in distress, he said.

“We’ll let people know before hitting the start button.”

There is still a lot to think about and sort out, he said.

“If you’re traveling from London, for example, you may be traveling to a place that doesn’t require a pre-departure test to then continue on to New Zealand – and therefore they won’t necessarily check you for a pre-departure test in London, and that creates a challenge of interest to us that no other country has imposed this requirement. “

Pre-departure actions can take place from mid-January.

National Party Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop called for stricter testing measures.  Photo / Mark Mitchell
National Party Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop called for stricter testing measures. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The National Party has called for pre-departure tests to be added to the country’s defense against Covid-19, and his spokesman Chris Bishop told RNZ that the Government’s move is a step in the right direction.

But they need to go a step further and make it a requirement for all arrivals, not just those from the UK, he said.

“We just have to keep Covid out of New Zealand, the prospect of more lockdowns and more community transmission in New Zealand is not something I think anyone listening to and we just have to have a hard line.”

Bishop said he understands the concerns about being able to access the test, but doesn’t believe it is the biggest barrier to coming here at this stage.

“I think there are legitimate concerns surrounding that but the biggest barrier to getting back to New Zealand at the moment is not being able to get a Covid test, the biggest barrier is through MIQ … no places are available until March.

“The obligation is on the people returning to New Zealand to go and get tested. Our borders are our first and best defense against Covid and this is basically expanding our borders offshore as well. The simple reality is that Covid is spreading around the world, especially with a new problem that so many people worry about. “

He said transtasman bubbles needed to be installed as soon as possible to free up space in managed isolation.

Asked whether National would consider providing assistance to those struggling to leave Britain or other countries, he said it was something that would be seen in due course.

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