Coronavirus pandemic: COVID-19 testing centre set up in Christchurch

A dedicated community-based testing centre for COVID-19 is up and running in Christchurch.

The station is close to Christchurch Hospital and people will be referred for testing by GP's and the emergency department.

It's been set up in a secret location to avoid swarms of people turning up to be tested.

Canterbury District Health Board chief medical officer Dr Sue Nightingale says the station will help streamline the testing process.

"As we're wanting to increase the numbers [of testing], it's a lot more efficient and safer to have a dedicated setup."

Community testing centres are due to be set up in several locations across the country.

Dr Nightingale said plans are in place if expansion is needed.

"We're also looking at other options, like mobile hubs for example so that we can go to people especially, for example, aged residential facilities."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 30,000 swabs are in the country to test for COVID-19

Eight new cases in Waikato, Christchurch, and Invercargill, confirmed on Wednesday brought the number of infections to 20.

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said they'd all travelled home from overseas.

"They were all detected yesterday [Tuesday]," Dr Bloomfield told reporters. "Yesterday there were 620 tests processed around the country."

Dr Bloomfield said the weekend border restrictions were intended to keep the risk low.

"It is something we are very very alert for and that is why we want to do sufficient testing so that we can detect any evidence of community outbreak and then respond accordingly."