Siouxsie Wiles defends Government's decision not to test for COVID-19 at border

Dr Siouxsie Wiles.
Dr Siouxsie Wiles. Photo credit: The AM Show

Microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles is echoing assurances from health officials, saying testing for COVID-19 at borders is not effective.

The New Zealand Government has recently implemented stricter measures for incoming travellers following new cases.

Currently, there are 10 active cases of coronavirus in New Zealand. So far, the infected individuals are all New Zealanders who have returned from overseas.

Testing for COVID-19 is now mandatory at managed isolation facilities and travellers must test negative before they are allowed to leave.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield is defending the decision not to test at borders, as he says assessing people during quarantine is more accurate.

Dr Wiles agrees, saying it is the right move.

"The thing about doing it slightly later at three days rather than on arrival is it will also potentially catch people who picked up the virus in transit."

She says New Zealanders need to expect more cases of COVID-19 coming in from overseas as Kiwis try to return home from countries which still have large amounts of infections.

"This virus is essentially accelerating overseas so lots and lots of countries are not doing what we did, they aren't managing to contain the virus."

She says many countries are still struggling to contain the virus.

"It's absolutely understandable that people will be wanting to come home given that we are at alert level 1 and other countries are opening up and yet it isn't really safe to do that."

There have been over 9.1 million cases of coronavirus worldwide and 473,000 people have died according to data from John Hopkins University. 

The United States currently has the highest number of cases per country at 2.3 million, followed by Brazil with 1.1 million.