The government is introducing new testing measures for border workers, including increasing the frequency for some of those at higher risk.
Minister in charge of Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins said the new rules would increase the safety of border workers, and further strengthen New Zealand’s barriers against the virus.
“These strengthened rules – to apply to all international airports and ports – build on the mandatory testing orders we’ve been implementing since August and will make our border safety even stronger. They are the latest steps in the government’s extensive and ongoing programme to develop and refine our Covid-19 response,” he said.
The changes follow the marine employee cluster last month, which began after an engineer caught Covid-19 while working on a foreign vessel.
The new rules include:
- Increasing the frequency of testing for ship pilots and some other port workers who carry out work on affected ships, from fortnightly to weekly
- Increasing testing frequency for some workers who carry out work on aircraft that have arrived from outside of New Zealand, from fortnightly to weekly
- Mandatory fortnightly testing for port workers not already covered
- Mandatory fortnightly testing for airport airside and landside workers not already covered who interact with international arriving or transiting passengers
Hipkins said employers would be expected to keep records about their employees’ testing requirements and compliance, and facilitate their testing.
“I’d like again to pay tribute to the people who work at our ports and airports and managed isolation and quarantine facilities. They are some of the real heroes of our Covid-19 response”.
The latest requirements come into force from midnight on 26 November.