Primary healthcare news, information & resources


Pre-departure COVID-19 testing


People who require self-funded COVID-19 testing, and associated medical clearance can either:
  • attend their usual GP practices or an afterhours service IF they are offering the service/s
  • be referred to a private provider, or general practice who are offering self-funded testing and associated services.

Please see local arrangement details at the base of this page. If you would be willing to test casual patients, please let your locality lead know. Pinnacle will keep an updated list of providers.


Exit testing: Government expectations for repatriation to other countries

Increasingly there is a request for pre-departure COVID-19 testing of those returning to the Pacific Islands. Pacific governments have asked New Zealand to facilitate a way for individual travellers to pay for these tests. The Government are also aware of requests for exit testing for travel to other countries (non-Pacific) to meet entry requirements.

From Monday 22 June exit testing can be facilitated for people travelling to countries with COVID-19 pre-departure testing requirements, however travellers must pay for their own test. 

The test must be negative before they can depart New Zealand and travellers will need written confirmation of the negative result to present at the border in order to be cleared to board.

The Ministry of Health continues to hold the view that pre-departure testing is one element of a comprehensive strategy that includes measures such as quarantine on arrival. This is because current testing technology doesn't sufficiently rule out the possibility of COVID-19 infection and subsequent spread on the basis of a negative test alone.

The Ministry is not recommending pre-departure testing for people leaving New Zealand to other countries, but will support the facilitation of this where countries require it for entry. For this reason, only those travelling to countries with this requirement need to have pre-departure testing before leaving New Zealand.

The Ministry of Health hold information for travellers leaving New Zealand on their website

Cost/payment for tests

The New Zealand Government will not subsidise or pay for COVID-19 testing for people wanting to travel overseas to any countries (this includes for swabbing and lab analysis). Travellers seeking COVID-19 testing for this purpose should be told of the cost by their local primary care provider and confirm payment options in line with typical private laboratory testing purchasing arrangements.

The Ministry of Health have asked DHBs, local laboratories and primary care networks work together to determine the full cost for testing and how individuals can pay for it. This includes the swab being taken, any PPE use, the medical assessment by a clinician, provision of a medical certificate, the lab processing cost, provision of copy of the test result (the 'pre-departure COVID-19 test package'). An outline of the process for pre-departure COVID-19 testing is below.

Information to travellers

People registering for repatriation flights will be made aware of requirements around pre-departure testing. Information is being provided to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) for Air New Zealand to pass on to travellers and the Ministry of Health will make information available on its website, as well as responding to queries.

Individuals can also be directed to look at publicly available information on their destination country's entry requirements or be referred to the relevant country's foreign representative to New Zealand. A list of foreign representatives can be found here. The Ministry of Health will not gather or provide information on the entry requirements of other countries, nor should the health sector.

Repatriation flights

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are working on specific arrangements for the repatriation of Pacific workers on the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.

For further information

For further queries regarding COVID-19 exit testing please contact the Ministry of Health COVID-19 hub:
COVID-19Response@health.govt.nz.

Any queries from foreign country High Commission or Consulate staff should be directed to MFAT here:
PROTOCOL-COVID19@mfat.govt.nz

Travellers with queries can be directed to their High Commission, Embassy or Consulate in New Zealand.

Process for pre-departure testing from New Zealand

  • An individual confirms travel plans to a country that has testing and/or a medical certificate as an entry requirement.
  • The individual visits their local primary care provider and pays for 'the pre-departure COVID-19 test package'. This includes the swab being taken, any PPE use as required, the medical assessment by a clinician, provision of a medical certificate, the lab processing cost, provision of copy of test result.
  • Where required, an individual must cover the cost of the visit set by the primary care provider (e.g. non-resident, casual). They will need to provide personal details (minimum full name, personal contact mobile number, current residential address). An NHI is assigned, if not already available, for tracking test results.
  • The clinician conducts the assessment and fills out the COVID-19 e-notification form and classifies this as repatriation category to support current data collection requirements and notifiable disease requirements should there be a positive test.
  • The local laboratory processes the test and recovers the cost of processing the test from either the primary care provider or the Ministry.
  • The test result is reported to the primary care provider (or clinician) and the individual. Travellers will require appropriate confirmation evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result in order to be cleared for boarding at the airport; this may vary between countries, but we expect that written confirmation will be required. This result can be identified through the provider's patient management system (PMS) via the NHI assigned at the testing visit.
  • If the test result is negative a hard copy document should be provided by the primary care provider to the individual stating the result of the test.
  • If the test is positive this is notified via the current process for notifiable diseases to the local public health unit who take over case management and notifies the Ministry via the current process for notifiable diseases. The Ministry will notify the relevant country via the international health regulations (IHR) focal point.
  • The individual, with a negative test (with hard copy documentation) and/or appropriate medical clearance from a clinician, presents this evidence at airport check-in to be able to board their flight.

Please see below for a simple negative test result letter template.


Local arrangements

Taranaki

In the Taranaki region the following private provider has been identified:

Working for Health Limited, 169 De Havilland Drive, Bell Block (located beside Naki Nitro go Karts)

Testing is by appointment only. People should phone 06 755 4324 to book an appointment.

Testing costs is $280 including GST. (Cost is inclusive of PPE, biohazard waste disposal, transportation of samples to the lab, clinician time, lab analysis, clinical assessment, certificate and lab report).

Payment is required in advance, they accept cash and EFTPOS.

Private labs

Effective 25 June the e-ordering system has been updated to include private lab services for COVID-19 testing. Further information and process can be found in this Taranaki Pathology Services update.

Tairawhiti

TLAB have advised there will be a charge of $100 for the processing of pre-departure tests. If you have any patients or workplaces contacting you about repatriation testing please get in contact with Jane Kerridge and she will walk you through the process: jane.kerridge@medlabw.co.nz.



COVID-19 pre-departure negative test letter DOCX 23.77 kB

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