Auckland, January 12, 2021
The Government should immediately extend its Covid-19 pre-departure test requirement to all international travellers, not just those from the United Kingdom or United States, National Party Leader Judith Collins has said.
“The threat to New Zealand from the highly-infectious strains of Covid-19 that are ravaging the UK and South Africa must be taken seriously. We need tougher border protections in place now to avoid even harsher measures down the road. If New Zealand does not act fast then we will be looking at a complete border closure with the UK or another economy-crippling lockdown here,” she said in a Statement.
Ms Collins said that from 11.59pm on Friday, January 15, 2021, travellers bound for New Zealand from the UK and US will require certified evidence of a negative Covid-19 result in the 72 hours prior to their departure.
“Pre-departure testing is a crucial extra layer of defence against Covid-19 but Government’s piecemeal approach of only applying it two countries doesn’t make sense. There are many other high-risk countries that have widespread cases of the new Covid-19 variants. The Government cannot afford to be complacent with this new threat,” she said.
Ms Collins said that Covid-19 is not slowing its march.
“If we want to enjoy the rest of our Kiwi summer then the Government must make pre-departure tests a requirement for all travellers immediately,” she said.
Matthew Theunissen filed the following Report for Radio New Zealand:
ACT Leader David Seymour
ACT leader David Seymour said that circumstances were changing quickly yet the government is silent.
“The calculus of Covid is changing around the world so rapidly and New Zealand appears to still be on holiday. We have got to do better than that because the stakes are a rapid outbreak and a five-week, tough lockdown to bring it under control,” he said.
Peeni Henare: Action going on
Duty Minister Peeni Henare said in a statement that further action has been taken over summer to strengthen New Zealand’s borders, and the government will not hesitate to introduce more protections.
“These are on top of the ongoing strengthening of our MIQs, which represent the most robust border protections anywhere in the world,” he said.
The latest actions include introducing day zero testing for returnees from higher risk countries and requiring these people to stay in their rooms in managed isolation until they return a negative test.
“We will also be requiring pre-departure testing before returnees from the UK and the US can enter New Zealand starting from Friday, January 15, 2021, and are looking closely at other long-haul routes. We are constantly reviewing and strengthening our settings based on the most up to date information and advice. Ministers and officials have been in near daily contact during the summer break to ensure New Zealanders continue to be kept safe from the virus,” she said.
Vaccination work continuing
Mr Henare said that work was continuing at pace to get New Zealanders vaccinated, with the first frontline workers expected to get the jab in April.
“New Zealand’s Medsafe is working closely with its Australian counterpart, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, regarding the data both agencies are receiving from pharmaceutical companies about Covid-19 vaccines and any approval decisions made by Australia. Medsafe has streamlined its approval processes to move swiftly, but without rushing or compromising safety in any way. It is critical the public has confidence in the safety of vaccines,” he said.
If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP – don’t show up at a medical centre
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