Wellington: Travellers to New Zealand will no longer need a COVID-19 pre-departure test from 11:59 pm, June 20, COVID-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall said on Thursday.
"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," Verrall said in a statement. Around 90 per cent of international arrivals undertake their required testing once they are in the country, with only a 2-3 per cent positivity rate, she said, adding they don't anticipate a significant increase in border cases once the requirement is lifted.
"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," the minister said.
While the pre-departure test requirements are being removed, a set of border surveillance measures are kept in place for detecting any possible new variants of COVID-19, she said.
In order to understand what new strains of COVID are arriving at the border, travellers will still be required to self-test on Day 0/1 and again on Day 5/6. If the result of either test is positive, they must then get a PCR test, she added.