Due to increasing COVID-19 cases, Tonga does not currently meet criteria to be eligible for quarantine-free travel (QFT) into Aotearoa New Zealand, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced today.
“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,” Dr Bloomfield said.
- 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.
“During this time, 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.
“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.
“Aotearoa New Zealand has been pleased to welcome Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Tonga under QFT. We will work through things to minimise disruption for RSE workers and employers under the new settings.
“Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to continuing to support Tonga with its COVID-19 response, including through vaccine support. I also want to recognise the efforts of the Government of Tonga to keep its community safe at this time,” Dr Bloomfield said.