Coronavirus: Megan Woods says testing 'only one tool in the toolbox' after revelations nearly two-thirds of Auckland border staff hadn't been tested for COVID-19 a week ago

Managed Isolation Minister Megan Woods says testing for COVID-19 is "only one tool in the toolbox", after revelations 63.5 percent of all border and hotel isolation workers in Auckland hadn't been tested for coronavirus a week ago. 

Newshub's Michael Morrah revealed on Thursday that as of August 3, 1089 border workers in Auckland had been tested for COVID-19 - so about two-thirds of the city's managed isolation and border workforce hadn't been tested.

All staff will now get a test, Prime Minister Jacinda Arderm said on Thursday.

Woods told Newstalk ZB on Friday there were other measures in place at the border to keep staff safe, not just testing.

"Testing is only a reactive tool - it tells you that somebody already has COVID. The most important measures that we've put in place at the border have been what we're doing to ensure that we're keeping staff there safe," she told host Chris Lynch. "Testing of staff is an important tool but it's only one tool in the toolbox. 

"We do have daily health checks so why not daily tests, what there are, are daily health checks for staff at the border and there is an interview with a health professional, and having your temperature taken."

Megan Woods.
Megan Woods. Photo credit: The Hui

Acknowledging that testing "will tell us if someone has COVID", Woods told Newstalk ZB: "The most important thing we need to be doing is ensuring they don't get COVID and that's where those other proactive measures are really important".

It's now compulsory for managed isolation staff to get a test. Previously, they were only "offered" one.

Auckland University public health expert Professor Des Gorman said on Thursday he was amazed it had taken this long.

"I had, obviously naively, thought that was already happening," he told Newshub.

University of Otago epidemiologist Prof Michael Baker said a thorough investigation is needed.

"I think we're at the stage now of doing an official inquiry into the entire outbreak response," he said.