Skift Take

Closed for so long, New Zealand isn't quite ready to risk losing the China market, which pre-pandemic had been its second biggest tourism market after Australia.

The New Zealand government said on Wednesday it would not require travelers from China to produce a negative Covid-19 test, bucking a trend that has seen a number of nations implement such measures as cases surge in China.

New Zealand’s Covid-19 minister, Ayesha Verrall, said in a statement that a public health risk assessment had concluded visitors from China would not contribute significantly to the number of cases in the country.

“There is minimal public health risk to New Zealand,” she said.

A number of countries including Britain, the United States and Australia have demanded that travelers from China produce a negative Covid-19 test over concerns about the scale of the country’s outbreak and skepticism over Beijing’s health statistics. The move has been criticized by Chinese state-media as discriminatory.

Infections in China have spiked after the country dropped its strict zero-cases policy on December 7, allowing the virus to spread.

All international arrivals in New Zealand are asked to test if they become symptomatic and the country provides free tests at the airport.

Officials will be asking some travelers from China to do voluntary tests to gather more information, which Verrall said reflected New Zealand’s concern alongside that of the World Health Organization about China’s lack of information sharing.

New Zealand is also planning to trial testing waste water on international flights to see if this can replace targeted and voluntary testing of individuals.

(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Neil Fullick)

This article was written by Lucy Craymer from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].


The Daily Newsletter

Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: australia, china outbound, coronavirus recovery, covid-19, new zealand, PCR tests

Photo credit: New Zealand's Covid-19 minister said visitors from China would not contribute significantly to the number of cases in the country. Sulthan Auliya / Unsplash

Up Next

Loading next stories