Via an exemption from the Director-General of Health, select businesses who need to screen staff for COVID-19 can now import and use rapid tests – which can detect the virus within 15 minutes.
In a scheme unveiled by Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall, about 25 core sector businesses across manufacturing, energy, food production, telecommunications, freight, aviation and aged care have ordered 300,000 approved rapid antigen tests for their workforce.
“We will continue to refine, learn and iron out any issues in this first phase before we look at how this testing can be rolled out as part of our wider COVID-19 response,” Verrall said.
Although already in use at Middlemore Hospital, the Government has faced scrutiny from its COVID-19 testing advisory group for being slow to adopt rapid antigen testing.
The tests will also be used on travellers arriving at Auckland and Christchurch airports for the self-isolation scheme pilots.