Kids should be tested for Covid before leaving Auckland - Baker

Source: 1News

Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker is calling for unvaccinated Auckland children to take a rapid antigen test before they leave the city this summer.

Aucklanders are gearing up to finally leave the city after many arduous months when the city's borders open on Wednesday.

Under current rules, vaccinated Aucklanders must be able to present a vaccination pass if stopped by police, while unvaccinated travellers must have proof of a negative test in the past 72 hours.

These rules do not apply to children however, as Medsafe is yet to approve the Covid-19 vaccination for those aged between five and 11.

In his view, Baker says Auckland children should take a rapid antigen test before they leave the city to avoid spreading the virus to other parts of the country.

"I don't think anyone from Auckland wants to take the virus with them and infect family and friends outside the city, but young children can easily be infected and can easily take the virus with them," he said.

Free rapid antigen testing for Covid-19 will be available from this Wednesday at some pharmacies around the country for unvaccinated people travelling during the holiday period.

However, they are supervised and designed to provide unvaccinated adults with proof they are not carrying the virus.

There are 483 pharmacies across New Zealand that have opted in to provide these supervised tests - 138 are in the Auckland region with a total of 345 in the North Island and 138 in the South Island.

Rapid antigen tests are similar to a pregnancy test which has two blue lines displayed for a positive result. The nasal swab tests can return results in about 15 minutes.