New Zealand to ask worldwide travellers for unfavourable virus take a look at earlier than flying in By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Passengers arrive from New Zealand after the Trans-Tasman journey bubble opened in a single day, at Sydney Airport

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(Reuters) – New Zealand will ask worldwide vacationers from most international locations to point out unfavourable COVID-19 take a look at outcomes earlier than boarding flights to the nation as new contagious variants of COVID-19 unfold throughout globally.

“Given the excessive charges of an infection in lots of international locations and proof of the worldwide unfold of extra transmissible variants, it is clear that the majority world air routes will probably be of crucial concern for the foreseeable future,” COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins mentioned in a press release.

Hipkins mentioned the pre-departure take a look at requirement would quickly broaden to all international locations and territories excluding Australia, Antarctica and a few Pacific Island nations.

Vacationers (NYSE:) would nonetheless have to finish the 14-day obligatory quarantine and endure testing upon arrival in New Zealand.

Border closure and a strict nationwide lockdown in the course of the preliminary part of the pandemic has helped New Zealand preserve numbers comparatively low, with simply over 1,800 confirmed circumstances and 25 deaths because the pandemic started.

The nation final reported a neighborhood case almost two months in the past.

Critics have mentioned the federal government has been taking the brand new COVID-19 variants too flippantly and calls have grown for urgently extending pre-departure testing and speed up the roll out of vaccines.

The federal government mentioned it had secured sufficient vaccines to inoculate the entire nation’s 5 million folks, with agreements signed with pharmaceutical firms AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:) and Novavax (NASDAQ:).

It plans to inoculate border staff solely by the tip of March and most people by mid-year.

“New Zealand has fallen behind the remainder of the world with its vaccine programme and the federal government wants to clarify why,” opposition Nationwide Celebration chief Judith Collins mentioned in a press release this week.

“Kiwis are rightly asking why Australia has plans to vaccinate 4 million folks by the tip of March whereas New Zealand received’t begin vaccinating most people till no less than July.”

Australia introduced ahead its vaccine roll-out two weeks to early March.

“Once we begin is much less vital than once we end it,” Hipkins mentioned at a information convention, including New Zealand’s success in containing provides it time to roll out vaccines.

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