The Government is introducing pre-departure testing as an additional precautionary step for anyone who was in Victoria in the days leading up to the Victoria travel bubble pause, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.
This means people flying to New Zealand from Australia must return a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure if they have been in Victoria on or after 20 May and who are not otherwise prevented from travelling to New Zealand.
Anyone who has been in Victoria since 7:59pm on 25 May, cannot fly to New Zealand at all due to the travel pause in place.
Extra checks are in place at points of departure and arrival so any travellers who fall into this category, regardless of where in Australia they are flying to New Zealand from, must keep evidence of a negative pre-departure test on them at all times.
Failure to produce evidence could result in people being denied boarding, or penalties on arrival in New Zealand. The only exception is for children under two years old.
This step is being taken to ensure those people who have been in Melbourne during the infectious period of the original detected COVID-19 cases, but who have since flown to another state, can’t fly on to New Zealand without first confirming they don’t have COVID-19.
This is a prudent step. The health and safety of New Zealanders is at the centre of our decision-making. Case numbers have risen in Victoria again today, and there are growing numbers of locations of interest.
While we don’t see these travellers who have left Victoria prior to 25 May as a major risk to New Zealand, we want to ensure the risk is reduced as much as possible. A negative pre-departure test can give us a higher degree of confidence that a person will not be infectious upon arrival in New Zealand.
The new pre-departure testing requirements will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11.59pm (NZT) on 31 May 2021, to minimise disruption for those passengers with imminent departures. Before this time, either a pre-departure test, or test and isolation on arrival into New Zealand will be accepted for entry into the country.
All New Zealanders overseas should also register on www.safetravel.govt.nz to receive the latest official advice if the situation changes.
More information on pre-departure testing requirements can be found on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.