NZ launches new testing strategy under Covid protection framework

by IANS |

 


Wellington, Nov 25 (IANS) A new national testing strategy, which will test people with faster results and provide greater certainty, reassurance, and less disruption to everyday lives, will better protect high-risk groups, Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall said on Thursday.

The new strategy came as New Zealand is transitioning to the Covid-19 Protection Framework on December 3.

New Zealand has the highest number of tests per positive case in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the border testing has stopped potential incursions, Verrall said in a statement.

"When we were pursuing an elimination strategy we relied on highly sensitive PCR tests because the cost of missing a case was too high," she said.

She added that with more and more New Zealanders gaining protection through vaccinations, a wider range of routine testing options that provide other benefits such as accessibility, convenience and speed will be introduced.

With more Covid-19 cases appearing around the country, testing, tracing and quickly isolating cases and their contacts will be all the more important for protecting communities, Verrall said.

"We will focus surveillance testing and contact tracing where it is most needed, to find and minimise Covid-19," she said, adding nasopharyngeal PCR tests will continue to be used as the primary diagnostic test, but this will be supplemented by saliva-based PCR testing, rapid antigen testing and rapid PCR tests.

From December 1, businesses will be able to directly source from authorised suppliers approved rapid antigen tests for use within their workforce. These tests will be more widely used across the country's health system, including aged residential care.

Rapid antigen tests will also be available to the general public at pharmacies from December 15, with tests to be administered under the supervision of pharmacy staff. An RT-PCR test will be required to confirm any positive results, Verrall said.

Under the new traffic lights framework, in regions at Red and Orange there will be a focus on symptomatic testing and surveillance testing in high-risk settings. Regions at Green will see a greater focus on surveillance testing, to quickly find any new clusters of cases, she said.

Work is underway to expand capacity to 60,000 PCR tests per day by early next year.

Latest News
Delhi-NCR wakes up to foggy morning on Saturday Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 12:31 PM
New CEO Parag Agrawal begins restructuring Twitter Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 12:28 PM
Omicron already present in community, K'taka in battle mode Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 12:26 PM
Night temperatures improve as J&K, Ladakh brace up for rain/snow Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 12:23 PM
Global Covid caseload tops 264.89 mn Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 12:16 PM
Puducherry to open classes I to VIII from Dec 6 Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 12:14 PM
Bengaluru doctor infected with Omicron doing fine Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 12:11 PM
86% smokers in India believe e-cigarettes are better alternative to cigarettes: Survey Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 12:01 PM
Omicron will impact int'l tourist footfalls to Goa: Minister Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 11:57 AM
DMRC flouted environmental norms during Phase III implementation: CAG Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 11:53 AM
US State Department officials' iPhones hacked by Pegasus: Report Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 11:51 AM
Terrorist attack claims dozens of lives in central Mali Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 11:49 AM
Covid-19 wave in Germany could reach 'sad peak' by Christmas Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 11:47 AM
UK records more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 11:45 AM
Delta continues to drive US Covid cases as Omicron found in more states Sat, Dec 04, 2021, 11:43 AM