COVID-19: Resources for the border sector

Information on COVID-19 for the border sector including specific guidance for the aviation and maritime sectors.

Last updated: 8 April 2021

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COVID-19 becomes a quarantinable disease 

On 11 March 2020, ‘novel coronavirus capable of causing severe respiratory illness’ and ‘COVID-19’ was added to Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the Health Act 1956.

This means they are quarantinable diseases and the quarantinable disease provisions in the Health Act 1956 and the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006 can be used if necessary.


Protecting yourself at the border

Border staff who work in areas with a high passenger flow should always follow the basic infection prevention and control principles to reduce the exposure to passengers with an acute respiratory infection. This is especially important if you are interacting with passengers or crew who have travelled from or through any overseas ports in the last 14 days. 

This guidance provides information on personal protection for staff who work at the border.


Infection Prevention and Control guidance at the Air Border

The Ministry has produced guidance for airports, airlines and workers at the air border to assist passengers, crew and workers reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19. 

This document has been formulated using existing international guidance with regard to Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and will continue to be reviewed by the Ministry to ensure it reflects best practice in IPC for COVID-19.


Border worker testing

Workers at the New Zealand border face higher risks of exposure to COVID-19 than most other workers. Regular testing is part of our rapid response to detect any cases so we can eliminate COVID-19. It protects the health of workers, their families and whānau and the wider community.

Testing Requirements

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Required Testing) Order 2020 [link] requires routine testing of border workers for COVID-19 at managed isolation and quarantine facilities, airports and seaports.

Specific groups of higher-risk border workers must be tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis. In most cases there will be a testing centre at or near your worksite. You can also be tested at a community testing centre or other healthcare facility such as your GP.

To help ensure that workers can meet the requirement to be tested regularly, your employer is required to keep a record about when you are due to have a test and when the test was completed.

To help your employer to keep this record, you must give your employer the following information:

  • Your full legal name and date of birth
  • Your contact telephone number
  • The date on which you are tested. (you need to do this every time you have a test.)

You will be advised (usually by text) of the results of your test. You do not have to tell your employer what your test results were. If your test result is positive a staff member from your local public health unit will call you.

There is no charge to either you or your employer for a COVID-19 test.


Guidance manual for border worker testing (Aviation and Maritime)

The Ministry has produced a guidance manual for maritime and aviation employers and workers which describes the mandatory border worker testing environment in New Zealand. The document contains information in one handy location relating to the following Health Orders:

  • COVID-19 Public Health Response (Required Testing) Order 2020
  • COVID-19 Public Health Response (Maritime Border) (No. 2) Order 2020 (only where it concerns testing of crew)
  • COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2020 (only where it concerns testing of crew)

Information about Managed Isolation and Quarantine facilities is not included in this document as there is already comprehensive information for Government agencies managing these facilities.


Border Workforce Testing Register

The Ministry of Health has created a secure online tool that assists employers with keeping and maintaining necessary mandatory COVID-19 testing records, and automates notifications to employers and employees of when swabs are due. It does not record the results of a test, but does record the date a swab was taken.

If you are an employer and interested in knowing more about the Register, you can contact: [email protected].

Read more about the Border Workforce Testing Register


Border advisories

Updates on COVID-19 for the border sector. A new Border Advisory will be added to this page on Tuesday, 8 September 2020.

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