New Zealand has announced that it will no longer require inbound travellers to conduct a Covid-19 pre-departure test effective June 20, 23.59.
The move brings forward the initial date planned for the change by six weeks, or July 31.
“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,” said Covid-19 response minister Ayesha Verrall in a press statement.
“Around 90 per cent of international arrivals undertake their required testing once they are in the country, with only a two to three per cent positivity rate. So we 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,” she added.
Lisa Hopkins, CEO at Business Events Industry Aotearoa, welcomed the announcement.
“This means one of the last roadblocks for travellers to return to New Zealand has been taken away. It just delivers on the confidence that event organisers are looking for.”
However, New Zealand will still have a set of border surveillance measures for detecting any possible new variants of Covid-19, including requiring travellers to self-test on Day 0/1 and again on Day 5/6. A positive result would then require a PCR test.
Separately, travellers transiting through New Zealand will no longer need to be vaccinated, nor be required to complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration.