Returnees who refuse testing

Information on this page can be attributed to a managed isolation and quarantine spokesperson.

The legal basis for returnees entering isolation or quarantine when entering New Zealand is included in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Isolation and Quarantine) Order 2020.

The purpose of this order is to prevent, and limit the risk of, the outbreak or spread of COVID-19 by setting out the requirements for people who must be isolated or quarantined (for example, on arrival in New Zealand), including risk-based provision for when isolation or quarantine ends.

When returnees arrive at an isolation facility they are given information that they are legally required to stay in the isolation facility for a minimum of 10 days. This starts from the time and date they arrive in New Zealand.

In almost all cases a negative COVID-19 test and confirmation from a Medical Officer of Health or a Health Protection Officer that they are medically “considered a low risk of having or transmitting COVID-19 are needed before they can leave the facility.

To meet the low risk indicators people are required to:

  • Complete 10 days in isolation
  • Undergo medical examination and testing for COVID-19, unless a medical officer of health or health protection officer has determined that they have physical or other reasons that make it inappropriate for them to undergo medical examination and testing; and
  • Undergo other medical tests or information to indicate if you are at a low risk of having or transmitting COVID-19

If a person does not have their final day 8/9 test, they will be required to stay in isolation or quarantine until they meet the low risk indicators, up to a maximum of 20 days. If one person in a bubble does not have a test, everyone in the bubble has to stay for the extended time in isolation or quarantine.

People refusing their day 8/9 test are offered a test each day of their extended stay. If they agree to a test, return a negative result and meet the standard exit health criteria above, they would be able to leave.

The maximum time a person who is in a bubble of one and is asymptomatic can be required to remain in an isolation facility under the Quarantine Order is 20 days.

The person should be offered nasopharyngeal testing each day during their extended stay. If they submit to testing at any point after spending 10 days in the managed isolation facility, and test negative, they should be released immediately (provided they meet the other exit criteria).

Last updated: 22 December 2021