Rapid antigen testing for unvaccinated travellers over holiday period

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineDecember 10, 2021

National Road Carriers is advising members of testing requirements laid out by the Office of the Director General of Health for asymptomatic unvaccinated travellers over the holiday period.

The Ministry has been engaging with the Pharmacy sector, following Minister Verrall’s announcement on 25 November that rapid antigen tests would be available to the public under supervision by community pharmacies from 15 December.

The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand, Green Cross Health and Pharmaceutical Society of NZ represent a significant proportion of the pharmacy sector and the Ministry has been working at pace with them to develop the rollout of rapid antigen testing to the community.

The Auckland boundary will be lifted at 11.59pm on Tuesday 14 December. From 15 December, those travelling out of Auckland who are not fully vaccinated will need to carry with them evidence of a negative test result within 72 hours of travel. In addition, those who are travelling in other parts of the country with a transport company will also be required to carry evidence of a negative test result.

Testing for asymptomatic unvaccinated individuals who are travelling during the holiday period will be free from 15 December to 31 January and will be available at selected pharmacies throughout the country.

Supervised testing means this test will be completed with the person within the community pharmacy together with a member of the community pharmacy workforce. People cannot purchase a rapid antigen test from community pharmacy and complete the test at home.

Purchase of off-the-shelf self-test rapid antigen tests for use at home is still being considered and may be available for the general public in the New Year.

Evidence of a negative rapid antigen test is required by the following people no more than 72 hours prior to travel, preferably within the 24 hours immediately preceding travel.

Rapid antigen testing is only available for asymptomatic, unvaccinated individuals over 12 years leaving Auckland and for the purpose of domestic travel as required by transport operators across New Zealand from 15 December to 31 January and will be free of charge.

As this is a rapid antigen test, the Ministry strongly recommends that it is administered as close as possible to the time of travel, preferably in the 24 hours prior to departure.

Unvaccinated individuals wishing to leave Auckland or travel across the motu must therefore plan their travel carefully to allow sufficient time to get tested.