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 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.
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.
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 queries regarding COVID-19 exit testing please
contact the Ministry of Health COVID-19 hub:
Any queries from foreign country High Commission or
Consulate staff should be directed to MFAT here:
Travellers with queries can be directed to their High Commission, Embassy or Consulate in New Zealand.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.