UK & US travellers will need to test negative for Covid before flying to NZ

By Te Ao - Māori News

UK and United States travellers will be required to obtain a negative test result for Covid-19 before flying to New Zealand, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today.

The new measures will come into force from midnight 15 January.

“The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last week, will require travellers from the UK or the US to have a written form, certified by a laboratory or another form of approved evidence, showing a negative result in the 72 hours prior to departure. It will come into force on flights arriving in New Zealand after 11.59pm on 15 January,” Hipkins said.

The minister said this requirement would also be extended to other long haul flights to New Zealand once work on this is complete.

“Work is underway on similar measures for travellers using most other long haul routes to New Zealand. We expect to be in a position to provide more details within the next week – after we get a more complete picture of testing regimes and capabilities in overseas jurisdictions.  

Hipkins said the new rule would be widely publicised.

“A detailed plan to put the new requirement into action in the UK and the US is being developed with airlines and will be widely communicated in time for 15 January via the Immigration NZ website and contact centre, the SafeTravel website and communications directly to airlines so they can contact booked travellers.

“A very limited number of people may be exempt, including if they have a medical certificate verifying they have been examined within 72 hours prior to their departure, but are unable to undertake a test for medical reasons and do not exhibit symptoms of Covid-19.

The new measures are in addition to the Day Zero Covid testing for arrivals from higher-risk countries which came into force on New Year's Day.

“Most of the main transit hubs for flights from the United Kingdom to New Zealand require passengers to have had a negative test 72 hours prior to departure, and Japan and China have currently stopped all flights from the United Kingdom," said Hipkins.

“It’s important, however, that we put our own safeguards in place. We’re at the end of long haul flights or chains of flights and any actions we take to further strengthen our border must be based on our own unique set of circumstances."