NZ Changes COVID-19 Entry Criteria for Travellers From Tonga Starting Tomorrow

Director General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield has today announced changes for travellers from Tonga due to increasing COVID-19 cases. Dr. Bloomfield says Tonga does not currently meet criteria to be eligible for quarantine-free travel into Aotearoa New Zealand

“Following a public health risk assessment, from 27 February travellers from Tonga entering Aotearoa New Zealand will be required to meet some public health requirements, with phased-in changes for travellers from Tonga on flights beginning tomorrow.”

  • Passengers arriving on the 15 February flight will undertake a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) on days 0/1 and 5/6 but will not be required to enter self-isolation unless they test positive.
  • Passengers arriving on the 22 February flight and thereafter will be required to self-isolate for 7 days on arrival in New Zealand and undertake a RAT on days 0/1 and 5/6.

All travellers are encouraged to monitor for symptoms and requested to avoid high-risk settings such as hospitality and large gatherings. They must report any positive RAT and take a follow-up PCR test to confirm their result. If they test positive standard isolation measures will be applied to them.

Dr. Bloomfield says, “the decisions taken around the 15 and 22 February flights have been made to lessen the impact of this change and minimise any disruption to travellers, noting that Tonga is recovering from the recent volcanic eruption and tsunami.”

This comes as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the government’s move to Phase 2 of its Omicron response plan, coming into effect as of 11.59 PM Tuesday 15 February.

Image credit: Air New Zealand