New Zealand Further Tightens Border Measures to Combat Virus

New Zealand will further tighten border measures to combat the global spread of more transmissible variants of the Covid-19 virus.

From Jan 18, almost all people entering New Zealand will need to be tested for the virus within the first 24 hours of arrival, Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in an emailed statement Tuesday in Wellington. Health officials are also putting in place requirements for almost all travelers to New Zealand to have a negative Covid-19 test withing 72 hours of their departure.

New Zealand Further Tightens Border Measures to Combat Virus

“New Zealand already has some of the most stringent border protection measures in the world,” Hipkins said. “Today’s amendments further strengthen that position in line with the government’s overall elimination strategy.”

New Zealand reported 60 cases among new arrivals in the first 10 days of January, following 106 cases in December. All were caught during the mandatory 14-day stay at isolation hotels that every returnee faces. Infected people must quarantine until tests return negative and they no longer have symptoms.

Hipkins said travelers from Australia and some Pacific Island nations will be exempt the pre-departures and day one test. There will also be exemptions for young children and for those who can present a medical certificate as a past recovered case and are assessed as no longer infectious.

The broader rules build on existing conditions on arrivals from the U.K. and the U.S., who have faced day one testing since the start of the year and are required to stay in their isolation hotel room until a negative result. Travelers from the U.K. and the U.S. arriving after Jan. 15 must also provide evidence of a negative test.

The exact date when the pre-departure test requirement for other nations will be imposed is still being finalized. But those arriving in New Zealand from Jan. 29 without evidence of a negative test will incur a fine, Hipkins said.

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