New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister, Dr Ayesha Verrall, has confirmed that, while the government’s original intention had been to remove the requirement for pre-departure testing for all arrivals on July 31, it has now been fast-tracked and was rescinded on June 20.
"Around 90% of international arrivals undertake their required testing once they are in the country, with only a 2-3% positivity rate. So we don't anticipate a significant increase in border cases once the requirement is lifted," she said, adding that cases were continuing to decline in New Zealand, despite more than 387 000 arrivals since borders reopened.
“In addition, the challenges pre-departure tests pose to visitors are now no longer outweighed by the public health benefits.”
Travellers must still self-test on Day 0/1 and again on Day 5/6. If the result of either test is positive, they must then take a PCR test.
Also from June 20, passengers transiting through New Zealand no longer need to be vaccinated, nor have to complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration before transit.
“Factors such as the availability of and cost of getting a test are increasingly becoming a barrier for people intending to travel here, especially as other countries wind back testing availability or the requirement for a test on entry themselves,” says Dr Verrall.
“We’ve taken a careful and staged approach to reopening our borders to ensure we aren’t overwhelmed with an influx of COVID-19 cases. Our strategy has worked and, as a result, it’s safe to lift pre-departure test requirements much sooner than planned.”