The problems that mandatory pre-departure tests pose for visitors outweigh the benefits of the procedure, said COVID-19 response minister Ayesha Verrall.
New Zealand is removing the requirement for mandatory pre-flight coronavirus testing for arrivals to the country from June 21. This was announced by COVID-19 response minister Ayesha Verrall on Thursday.
“We took a cautious and phased approach to open our borders to avoid a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and our strategy has worked. We can now remove the mandatory pre-departure testing requirements,” Verrall pointed out in a statement published on the country’s government website.
The minister noted that by now most countries had already removed the rules on mandatory pre-flight testing and it was becoming increasingly difficult for tourists to comply, with “the availability and cost of taking the test becoming a barrier for people intending to travel to New Zealand.” “The problems that mandatory pre-departure tests create for visitors outweigh the benefits of the procedure. About 90% of overseas arrivals are tested immediately after arrival and only 2-3% are tested positive,” she said.
Verrall also said that from 23:59 June 20 (14:59 Moscow time) a number of other changes to sanitary regulations for travelers will be introduced. Authorities will remove the requirement for mandatory coronavirus vaccination for transit passengers, travelers with respiratory symptoms will be able to avoid COVID-19 testing if they have medical documents confirming the non-viral nature of their illness, and the maximum fine for violating vaccination requirements for those arriving in New Zealand will be reduced from the current NZ$4,000 ($2,500) to NZ$1,000 ($630). The requirement for mandatory self-testing on the first and fifth day after arrival for all arrivals to New Zealand will remain.
According to New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the country rose by 5,624 overnight. Since the start of the pandemic, the infection has been detected in 1,254,650 people. From the consequences of the disease caused by the coronavirus, 1,295 patients died.