Thursday 9 December 2pm

Rapid antigen testing will be available for free from pharmacies across New Zealand.

Anyone travelling from Auckland who is not fully vaccinated will need to have evidence of a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours of travel, the Ministry of Health said in an email today. 

Those eligible to take the test include unvaccinated people aged 12 years and older, who wish to travel domestically within Aotearoa.

Rapid antigen testing involves a nasal or throat swab, and detects the presence of specific proteins on the outer portion of the virus in 15 minutes. This test will only be available to people who are asymptomatic and can only be taken while supervised at the pharmacy.

The Ministry of Health’s Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said “Aucklanders have borne the brunt of the Delta outbreak, facing restrictions for an extended period to keep the rest of New Zealand safe. But the time has come to allow all New Zealanders to reconnect with one another over summer as safely as possible”.

Rapid antigen tests must be done as close as possible to the time of travel, ideally within 24 hours before departure.

Travellers could still use a negative PCR test to meet travel requirements but that was not recommended, Bloomfield said. 

“Using the alternative rapid antigen test will allow our laboratories to focus on processing PCR tests. This will reduce the turnaround time for returning results to symptomatic people and close contacts of confirmed cases as we continue to respond to the current outbreak,” Bloomfield said.

Those who don't follow the testing rules could face a fine of up to $1000.

“A significant amount of movement happens across the country during this period, so we have added this safety net to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading but we have also been pragmatic,” Bloomfield said. 

“These testing requirements are another layer in our protection with Covid-19 in the community,” Bloomfield said. 

“It’s crucial that all of us, right around the country, continue to play our part, so we can enjoy the summer we all deserve.”


Thursday 9 December 1pm 

Today there are 103 new cases of Covid-19.

Of these, 88 are in Auckland, 9 in Waikato, 5 in Bay of Plenty, and 1 in Lakes.

There are 70 people in hospital (including 6 cases still being assessed), with 5 of those people in intensive care or high dependency units.

The average age of people currently in hospital is 49.

94 percent of New Zealand's eligible population have had the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and 88 percent have had a second dose.

There have been more than 4 million My Vaccine Passes now issued. 

Canterbury has become the third DHB to hit more than 90 percent of its Māori population partially vaccinated.

Counties Manukau has also achieved the 90 percent first dose mark for Pacific people.

Click here for a list of updated locations of interest.

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