WELLINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – Travellers to New Zealand will no longer need to provide a negative Covid-19 test before they arrive in the country from next week.
The requirement will be lifted from 11.59pm on June 20, according to a statement from Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall on Thursday (June 16).
The government had previously signalled the need for the test would stop in late July.
“We’ve taken a careful and staged approach to reopening our borders to ensure we aren’t overwhelmed with an influx of cases,” Ms Verrall said. “Our strategy has worked and as a result it’s safe to lift pre-departure test requirements much sooner than planned.”
New Zealand is reopening its border to revive the key tourism industry, with travellers from all nations able to visit from July 24.
The need for foreigners – as well as Kiwis returning home – to take pre-departure tests was seen as an impediment to tourists selecting New Zealand as a destination.
“The removal of the test means planning a trip to New Zealand is made easier and cheaper,” Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said.
“It’s positive we’re able to safely remove pre-departure tests before the winter tourism season and the upcoming Australian school holidays. I know this news will be welcomed by tourism operators across the country.”
Ms Verrall said Covid case numbers are trending down even as 387,000 visitors have entered the country since the border began progressively reopening.
All arrivals are required to test after they enter the country, and there has been a 2-3 per cent positivity rate from those tests, “so we don’t anticipate a significant increase in border cases once the requirement is lifted,” she said.