28 Oct 2020

Shipping crews transiting through New Zealand should be tested - Hipkins

From Morning Report, 7:22 am on 28 October 2020

The Minister of Health wants all arrivals into the country to be tested for Covid-19 even shipping crews who don't need to spend two weeks in managed isolation.

At the moment, those crews are only tested if they spend three or more days in a managed isolation facility while waiting to board their ship.

It comes after eight crew members from the Philippines transited through New Zealand to board a ship in Auckland without receiving a test.

It's believed those workers may be the source of the country's newest cluster, after they came into contact with a port worker, who later tested positive.

Chris Hipkins told Morning Report such testing would be a useful safeguard.

Officials could sequence the genomes of any positive cases to help track and trace any subsequent infections.

Hipkins says he's yet to decide whether to put all shipping crews through managed isolation however, officials think they've caught the marine worker cluster very quickly.