Weekly Covid testing mandatory for workers crossing Auckland's border

Source: 1News

All essential workers crossing through Auckland’s border will be required to get a Covid-19 test every seven days, starting this week.

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced the mandatory “surveillance testing” during an alert level update on Monday afternoon.

Staff will also be required to provide proof of their testing. How that will be done is still being finalised, Bloomfield said, but he confirmed spot checks would be set up at the borders.

Bloomfield said they had started engaging with employers on the change, which would be put in place from Wednesday September 8.

Wellingtonians will need to book to get a test.

"The key point is essential workers crossing the Auckland border will be expected to have had a test in the last seven days and provide proof of this test,” Bloomfield said.

“We will be working closely with employers who have workers who are crossing the Auckland boundary to put in place weekly testing of those workers.

“This is part of our overall efforts to fully control and end this Delta outbreak over the coming weeks.”

There will be no cost for the testing, and because it is surveillance testing, Bloomfield said those being tested would not have to stand down or stay home while awaiting their results - unless they have Covid symptoms.

There are around 3000 essential workers crossing the alert level boundary each day.

Nasal swab testing will be available at all community testing centres for workers, however, Bloomfield confirmed they were also working with a provider in Auckland to enable saliva-based testing. 

“I would like to thank all essential workers for their efforts to keep New Zealanders safe,” he said.

Meanwhile, the testing of quarantine staff is being increased to twice-weekly testing, for at least the next two weeks. There will also be more regular surveillance testing for health care workers.

The announcement comes as all of New Zealand, excluding Auckland, moves to Alert Level 2 from 11:59pm Tuesday September 7. 

Auckland remains in Level 4 lockdown until at least September 14.