Rapid testing should be used at Auckland border

News that a truck driver who passed through the Auckland border has tested positive for Covid-19 highlights why rapid antigen testing should be used at the Auckland boundary for essential workers, National Covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“Weekly testing for essential workers crossing the Auckland boundary is just not good enough. Delta moves so quickly that a worker could spend six days with Covid-19 and infect potentially thousands of people in that time before they have to go and get a nasal PCR or saliva PCR test.

“The Government should be rapidly rolling out rapid antigen tests so that essential workers crossing the Auckland border can use them daily, with weekly nasal or saliva PCR tests as the backup.

“Finding an essential worker with Covid quickly makes a massive difference to how we respond and rapid tests help us do that. Even though they are slightly less accurate than the nasal PCR tests, doing them daily means it is far more likely Covid-19 is picked up.

“The Government announced today that they have imported 100,000 rapid antigen tests for pilot programmes at Middlemore Hospital and for people entering New Zealand. This is good news and long overdue. Rapid tests at Middlemore should make a real difference and we look forward to the results.

“Confronting Delta is all about testing and finding cases as quickly as possible. Nasal PCR tests are great but are time consuming and uncomfortable for many people. We should be supplementing our surveillance testing with rapid tests and the Government’s slowness to act here is disappointing.”