Pre-departure Covid-19 tests should be extended

The Government should urgently extend its Covid-19 pre-departure test requirement to all international travellers, not just those from the United Kingdom or United States, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.

“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 doesn’t act fast then we will be looking at a complete border closure with the UK or another economy-crippling lockdown here.”

From 11.59pm on Friday, 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,” Ms Collins says.

“There are many other high-risk countries that have widespread cases of the new Covid-19 variants. The Government can’t afford to be complacent with this new threat.

“Covid-19 isn’t 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.”