The New Zealand government is extending its pre-departure testing to all passengers entering New Zealand, except for those from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, after its first Covid case in months was confirmed to be the South African variant. Those arriving after 11:59 p.m. on 25 January need to have a negative test result from an accredited laboratory within 72 hours before departure and have to present this result to customs on arrival in New Zealand. From 8 February, travellers who break the rules will be fined up to NZD$1000.
Airlines expected to play a key role
“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," Covid-19 Response Minister Chris 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 testing is now in operation. All travellers are still required to complete 14 days mandatory isolation, including routine Day 3 and Day 12 tests.”
Australia suspends New Zealand travel bubble
Meanwhile, Australia has suspended its travel bubble with New Zealand. Travellers coming from New Zealand to Australia in the next 72 hours will now have to go through hotel quarantine. The decision was made following advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters: "It is recommended all passengers from New Zealand with a flight scheduled in the next 72 hours reconsider their need to travel.”