New Zealand finds itself "in the eye of a Covid-19 storm" and more testing is required to discover if there has been undetected transmission in the community, Taranaki Medical Officer of Health Jonathan Jarman says.
Dr Jarman says new cases of Covid-19 are arriving at our borders every other day and we cannot let our guard down.
Pop-up Covid-19 testing stations were set up in central New Plymouth and at two locations in Palmerston North today as the Ministry of Health sought to ramp up testing numbers.
About 10 minutes after the operation opened up in the New World supermarket car park in New Plymouth, more than 20 people were lining up for nasal swabs while a similar number queued in their cars.
Dr Jarman said New Zealanders could not afford rest on their laurels.
"There is a little bit of complacency I'm afraid. People have forgotten about Covid-19 but every time you pick up the newspaper and look at what's happening in other parts of the world you can see how quickly things can go wrong."
Dr Jarman said the fact there had not been a recorded case of community transmission for some time did not mean New Zealand was out of the woods.
"There are cases coming to New Zealand virtually everyday and there is concern that there may be a little hidden pocket of community transmission somewhere that we don't know about, so to have that sort of reassurance we need to do more community testing."
He said the borders were of particular concern and weekly testing would soon begin at Port Taranaki as well as community testing being rolled out at smaller towns across the province.
Operations manager for community testing in Taranaki, Lydia Rae, was rapt with the turnout in New Plymouth.
"It's really good. An hour ago we had thunder and lightning, and a torrential downpour. So as you can see the sun's come out and there's lots of people here in support of this today which is fantastic to see."
Rae said the testing team now ran like a well-oiled machine.
"So we've done quite a few of these pop ups and we often are ready to respond to a mobile request at any stage. So, I would say that this team has done many many swabs now and so we have a really good system in place and so we're able to make this happen at short notice when we need to."
Fitzroy resident Garth Guptill was waiting in the queue.
"The reason I've come along is that it's for everyone's safety at the end of the day. You know, we've got to look after us as well as everyone else."
He was worried about community transmission.
"Well, with all these people coming back into the country it's inevitable unfortunately. Well that's my opinion anyway."
Vicki was feeling a bit under the weather.
"[I'm here] cause I've just got a bit of a blocked nose and a slightly sore throat which I've had for a couple of days. So it just feels like a head cold but I thought it's best to be safe rather than sorry."
Greg Stevens was walking the talk.
"I think this is something that we need be doing nationally to see a lot more of it, so I can't be a hypocrite and refuse to do it myself.
"I've got relatives in both the UK and Melbourne so I'm definitely seeing the international perspective."
RNZ caught up with Garth Guptill after his test.
"It was a sensation that I wouldn't want to have every five minutes that's for sure."
He nevertheless thought it wasn't so bad people should avoid it.
"Not really, no. Not for the overall result."
The Ministry of Health said there had been a strong response to the call for people to get tested.
Just over 4000 Covid-19 tests were processed yesterday, bringing the total number of completed tests to 486,943.
There were also 282 swabs taken in managed isolation and quarantine facilities yesterday.
Pop up testing stations will be in operation on Saturday at the South Mall car park in Manurewa and at Orchard Road near Christchurch Airport in Canterbury.