7 Sep 2021

Live Covid-19 updates: Government criticised over saliva testing 'misinformation'

10:25 am on 7 September 2021

The prime minister has been poorly advised over saliva testing, a top US-based epidemiologist says.

Yale researcher Dr Anne Wyllie, who is a New Zealander, has criticised the government over months' long delays in using saliva testing to get on top of Covid-19 outbreaks.

The quicker and less invasive tests have been widely used overseas for over a year.

But the Ministry of Health has persisted with PCR nasal swabs which take much longer to yield a result and therefore slow down the detection of outbreaks.

Dr Wyllie told RNZ's Nine to Noon Jacinda Ardern has been given poor advice.

"There's so much misinformation out there even amongst the government that I've even heard on some of the daily briefings.

"Things that are just downright wrong are being said by the prime minister with regards to saliva testing so misinformation amongst the government prevails."

This morning Ardern confirmed the ministry is in negotiations with a company to use saliva testing on those crossing the Auckland boundary.

Meanwhile, New Zealand outside of Auckland, drops from alert level 3 to level 2 from 11.59pm tonight, while Auckland stays in level 4 until 11.59pm next Tuesday 14 September.

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