New Zealand ‘likely’ to impose Covid checks on travellers from China

‘Oku taupotu ‘i lalo ha fakamatala faka-Tonga

The Ardern government will likely impose pre-flight Covid checks on travellers from China, as Covid-19 numbers surge there, epidemiologist Michael Baker says.

A New Zealand public health risk assessment report due today will help officials decide whether to require a negative Covid-19 test result before departure. (file picture) Photo: stringer / ImagineChina / Imaginechina via AFP

China’s switch last month from the “zero-Covid” policy that it had maintained for nearly three years led to infections sweeping across the country unchecked, with experts suggesting there was inconsistency between case and death numbers officially reported and what was happening on the ground.

The Chinese government has rejected claims that it has deliberately underreported the total number of fatalities.

A New Zealand public health risk assessment report due today will help officials decide whether to require a negative Covid-19 test result before departure.

Baker said it was likely the government would follow Australia’s lead so those coming from China would have to to prove they were Covid-negative.

He said other countries – like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada – had also recently introduced pre-departure testing for travellers from China.

However, he warned that any policy changes for people travelling from countries with high Covid-19 cases should be carefully worded.

He said changes to the rules should apply to any country where case numbers were surging or where there was not enough information to know the situation and the proportion of the population with Covid-19.

“It will be important that the policy is framed in a way that it has thresholds.”

Baker said China currently met both of those thresholds, but it was possible other nations would also have Covid-19 resurgences, particularly if new variants emerge.

Yesterday, NZ government duty minister Stuart Nash said New Zealand’s response would be proportionate to the potential risks from incoming travellers “and in the context of the international situation.”

Beijing recently announced it would end quarantine requirements for inbound travellers arriving in China early this month, and it was downgrading wider control measures to slow the disease, shifting away from its strict zero-Covid strategy.

On Friday, the World Health Organisation repeated its calls for China to share detailed data with the rest of the world about its Covid-19 situation.

Health officials called for specific and real-time figures, details of hospitalisations, deaths and vaccinations, and more details about genetic sequencing results.

FAKAMATALA FAKATONGA

‘E ngali na’a fiema’u ha tu’utu’uni ki he kau folau mei Siaina ki Nu’u Sila ni’ ka nau toki tū’uta heni fakatatau ki he fakamatala ‘a Michael Baker ko e ‘epitemolosia.

Na’e mavahe ‘a  Siaina  mei he‘ene polisi “Koviti noa” ‘i he māhina kuo ‘osi’ ‘a ia ko e ta’u’aki ia ‘e mei tolu ‘ene ngāue’aki pea kuo tupulaki ai ‘a e mahaki he fonua, ‘o pehe ‘e he kau mataotao ‘oku ‘i ai e fetō’aki ‘i he tokolahi’ o e ngaahi keisi ‘o e mate’ kuo lipooti, mo me’a totonu ‘oku hoko’.

Kuo faka’ikai’i ‘e he pule’anga Siaina ‘a e pehē na’a nau mātu’aki lipooti ke pehē ne si’i pe ‘a e mate’.

Na’e pehe ‘e Baker ngali ‘e muimui ‘a Nu’u Sila ‘i ‘Aositelelia ‘a e pau ke fakamo’oni’i ‘oku ‘ikai puke ‘a kinautolu fou mei Siaina ‘i he Koviti’.

Na’a’ ne pehē ‘oku fai ‘e ‘Amelika, Pilitānia mo e Kātana ‘a e me’a tatau ki he pau ke mu’aki tesi ‘a e kau folau mei Siaina’.

Neongo ia na’a’ ne fakatokanga ‘e lava ke liliu ‘a e polisī kia kinautolu ko ia folau mei he ngaahi fonua ‘oku kei mā’olunga ai ‘a e Koviti’.

Na’a’ ne pehē ko e ngaahi liliu ki he ngaahi tu’utu’uni’ ‘oku totonu ke ‘apalai ki ha fonua pe ‘oku toe tupulaki ai ‘a e mahaki pe ‘ikai ha fu’u fakamatala mahino ki he tu’unga ‘oku ‘i ai ‘a e Koviti mo hono fakahoa ki honau tokolahi’.

Na’a’ ne pehē ‘oku mahu’inga ke fa’u ‘a e polisii’ ‘i ha founga ke ‘i ai hano kamata’anga.

Pehē ‘e Baker kuo ‘osi a’u ‘a Siaina ia ki he kamata’anga, ka ‘oku malava kuo toe kamata ‘a e Koviti’ ‘i he ngaahi fonua kehe, tautefito ki he fōtunga fo’ou ‘o e Koviti’.

Na’e pehē ‘e he Minisita ‘a e pule’anga Nu’u Sila’ ‘aneafi, Stuart Nash ko e tali ‘a Nu’u Sila ‘e fakahoa ki he malava fakatu’utāmaki ‘a e kau folau mai pea fakatatau ki he tu’unga ‘oku ‘i ai ‘a e mahaki’ fakavaha’apule’anga’.

Na’e toki fanongonongo ‘e Beijing ‘e fakangata ‘ene ngaahi fiema’u kolonitini ki he kau folau mai mei Siaina’ he konga ki mu’a māhina ni’, pea na’e toe holoki hifo mo ‘ene ngaahi tu’utu’uni ke fakatua’i ‘a e mahaki,  ‘o ‘ikai ai toe nofo ki he’ene tu’utu’uni fefeka ko e pau ke ‘ikai ha toe Koviti’.

Na’e toutou ui foki ‘a e Kautaha Mo’ui ‘a Māmani’ ki Siaina ke tuku ange mai kia kinautolu mo e toenga ‘o māmani’  ‘a e fakamatala fakaikiiki ki he tu’unga ne ‘i ai ‘a e Koviti.

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