Coronavirus: Ministry of Health unsure how many of New Zealand's COVID-19 bus drivers are being tested

The Minister of Health has reiterated that more people need to be tested for COVID-19. 

However, there's concern one high-risk group is being overlooked - airport bus drivers ferrying the thousands of returnees to isolation hotels. 

It's the old COVID-19 battle cry - test, test, test. 

"We want to see higher rates of daily testing," said Chris Hipkins.

For obvious reasons, the initial focus has been here at our borders - but what about testing of bus drivers? They're transporting potential COVID-positive travellers every day, sometimes for hours, to managed isolation hotels.

"They will be covered by the staff at the border testing, so that includes everyone working in that chain," the Minister of Health said.

But a source at the border has told Newshub bus drivers are not being regularly tested.

"We're amazed bus drivers haven't been tested when the Prime Minister and [Director-General of Health] Bloomfield are saying everyone is being tested from the border to the hotels," the source said.

"They are in these coaches travelling for hours. They are at risk."

When asked if he's sure bus drivers are being tested, Hipkins said he wasn't but was "very happy to follow that up".

The Ministry of Health responded, saying Auckland DHB had so far tested 1089 border workers - including "some" bus drivers. It didn't know how many.

Overseas returnees get tested around day three and day 12, but the testing regime for those working in the isolation hotels - like guards and hotel staff - is much less rigorous. 

It's more of an aspirational target.  

"Everyone is finding their way," Dr Ashley Bloomfield said. "There is no rule book on it. At the moment, we're aiming to do it every two to three weeks."

"Aiming" is the important word in that answer, because it isn't always happening every two to three weeks. 

However Dr Bloomfield says staff are asked daily questions about their health and have their temperature taken.

National health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says all managed isolation staff should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and all should receive regular testing. He says if that's not happening, it's a problem.