New Zealand to drop pre-departure test rule

 The government of New Zealand will drop its requirement for arrivals to take a Covid-19 pre-departure test from 11:59pm on Monday (June 20).

New Zealand had planned to drop the rule by July 31 but the date has been brought forward as case numbers fall.

Fully vaccinated travellers from about 60 countries on a visa-waiver list, including the UK, have been able to visit from May 2.

The country’s official Covid website said: “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.”

More: New Zealand brings forward border reopening for international tourists

It added: “With cases continuing to decline despite over 387,000 arrivals since borders reopened, there is evidence this measure can now be lifted.

“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.

“In addition, the challenges pre-departure tests pose to visitors are now no longer outweighed by the public health benefits.

“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.”

Travellers will still be required to self-test on Day 0/1 and again on Day 5/6 and if the result of either test is positive, they must then get a PCR test.

Travellers with Covid-19-like symptoms – such as hayfever – will also be able to choose between showing a negative Covid test, or a certificate from a health professional stating that they are unlikely to have Covid-19 before travelling.

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