New Zealand took “extra precautionary steps [to] provide another layer of protection” after the new variant of coronavirus, recorded in more than 30 countries was detected in arrivals from the UK and from South Africa. Travelers to New Zealand from the US and UK will now be required to show a negative test for Covid-19 before departure, as well as taking a test on their arrival in quarantine in addition to those on days three and 12. Auckland University microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles said the new variant – which is reported to be more infectious – would challenge the country’s safeguards. Large gatherings of young people have been identified as a particular risk, especially at music festivals. The Rhythm and Vines festival over New Year’s Eve was interrupted by a public service announcement from Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the director-general of health.
The new Covid-19 variant found in the UK is set to become more prevalent across the world due to its more transmissible nature and it will be harder to control. Limiting social contacts and wearing mask are strongly recommended. “We really want to avoid going into a lockdown but that could easily happen if an outbreak happens with the new variant,” Professor Michael Baker of University of Otago, Wellington, said examining the situation.