WELLINGTON, New Zealand (WLNS) – New Zealand is changing its strategy to keep COVID-19 from spreading, now requiring that international visitors get tested before departing.
Until now, the island nation has required new arrivals to quarantine for two weeks to make sure they didn’t have the virus. The new rules state most visitors must test negative within 72 hours of arrival. That applies to travelers from the United States and the United Kingdom starting Friday, and other nations soon afterward.
Visitors from Australia and some other nearby countries will be exempt from the requirement.
New Zealand has more or less stamped out COVID-19 thanks to a combination of strong public health measures and geographic isolation. The country has a population of 4.9 million people but has experienced fewer than 2,300 cases of COVID-19 and only 25 deaths. The country’s COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says New Zealand is in a fortunate position but takes nothing for granted.