People aren't being tested for COVID-19 at the airport because a test on day three of quarantine is more likely to pick up the virus, according to Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Dr Bloomfield defended the decision not to test on arrival saying testing during quarantine was more accurate.
"The reason we don't test on arrival and we wait until day three of managed isolation is because that is about day five of many people's journeys... and we know that testing then is more likely to pick up infection than earlier testing, when people may be incubating the virus but will not test positive," he explained.
Testing at day 12 "provides extra security" due to the fairly high false negative rate of around 20 to 30 percent.
Everyone in managed isolation is tested at day three and day 12 of their stay.
However the Ministry of Health has been criticised for not testing at the border after it was revealed that people within quarantine facilities have come into contact with people at a different stage in their quarantine.
On Monday, Newshub's national correspondent Patrick Gower labelledd the decision not to test at the airport as "lazy".
"Clearly the Government has decided it is too hard to test at the border. To me, that means the Government is too lazy. It should at the very least be running trials or random testing every second day," Gower wrote.
During the press conference, Dr Bloomfield also revealed there are two new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand. Both of the cases are men in their 20s.
One returned to New Zealand from India on June 19, and has been staying in managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel. As per ministry protocol, he has since been moved to Auckland's Jet Park Hotel, which is operating as a quarantine facility.
The other man arrived from the USA on flight NZ5 from Los Angeles on June 18. He tested positive for the virus while in quarantine at the Jet Park Hotel after displaying respiratory symptoms. He has been staying at the Jet Park Hotel since his arrival due to a mix-up at the airport, Dr Bloomfield said, in which the man went in the wrong group.
Dr Bloomfield said the men were tested at around day three of their respective mandatory isolation periods and both had been presenting symptoms of the virus.
New Zealand's active case total is 10 and the country's confirmed case total is 1165. One significant cluster remains open in Auckland.
On Monday, 4303 tests were processed nationwide, bringing the total number of processed tests to 348,822.