Coronavirus: Virus expert applauds Government's COVID-19 testing changes

Prof Shaun Hendy.
Prof Shaun Hendy. Photo credit: Supplied

A virus modelling expert has applauded the Government's latest crackdown to keep coronavirus out of New Zealand.

Auckland University Professor of physics Shaun Hendy says New Zealand has so far managed travellers "pretty well" but there is still work to be done.

"Despite the hiccups recently, we have managed quarantine reasonably well over the last couple of months and we've seen renewed pressure on the system as the number of people coming back to New Zealand has actually increased. So we are seeing larger numbers now and that's where some of the slip ups we have seen."

He says the Government's latest decision to test everyone who arrives in New Zealand following a rise in new cases is the right thing to do.

"We do know with COVID-19 that a relatively large fraction of people never go on to develop symptoms so I think it is wise to be using the tools we have and requiring people to take tests." 

Hendy says travelling will definitely change as a result of the pandemic, and required testing for COVID-19 is likely to become normal.

"We are used to a world where we are able to travel relatively freely. With COVID-19 out of control in many parts of the world I think this is just something we are all going to have to learn to live with."

The Government has also implemented new rules for people travelling into the country by boat.

All crew must complete a 14 day period of isolation, unless they have been on board for 28 days.

Hendy says he thinks the extension is "prudent".

"If you get on a ship and you pass it on to your shipmates then people can leave the ship after 14 days and be contagious."