WELLINGTON, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the New Zealand government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers except Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Tuesday.
As required, all travelers will need to present a negative testing result within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time.
The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59 p.m. local time (1059 GMT) next Monday, to minimize disruption for those passengers with imminent departures.
Other countries will be considered for exclusion if their situations change, Hipkins said in a statement.
"As we signaled last week, given the high rates of infection in many countries, most global air routes are of critical concern for the foreseeable future," Hipkins said.
"New Zealand is currently in a good position with no community cases, but we continue to take action with very specific steps to further strengthen our borders in response to what we're seeing overseas," he said.
The expansion of Day 0/1 testing at Managed Isolation and Quarantine to all passengers to New Zealand - except for those coming from Australia, Antarctica or most Pacific Islands - is now in operation. All travelers are still required to complete 14 days of mandatory isolation, including routine Day 3 and Day 12 tests.
"New Zealand already has some of the most stringent border protection measures in the world," Hipkins said.
From Feb. 8, all passengers arriving in New Zealand except those from exempted countries without evidence of a negative approved test or medical certificate would incur an infringement offense fee or a fine not exceeding 1,000 New Zealand dollars (713 U.S. dollars).