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NZ to give Aussies rapid antigen tests

Australians will be given free rapid antigen tests when they visit New Zealand, but will be expected to hunker down and isolate if they return a positive test.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced borders would be opened to Australian travellers from April 13.

The new schedule allows Australians to visit during the Easter school holidays, and gives plenty of time to plan winter ski trips.

Travellers will receive a goody bag, including free rapid antigen tests, when they land.

However, holidaymakers and business travellers will be asked to abide by strict regulations on their visits, which might include an unscheduled stay.

Anyone testing positive to COVID-19 in NZ must get a PCR test to confirm and then isolate – along with their household – for seven days, returning a negative test before leaving.

Ms Ardern said foreigners must do the same.

“If they get COVID while they’re in New Zealand, we will ask them to follow the same rules as anyone else,” she said.

The prime minister said the health system would be there for those who get sicker.

“I’d like to consider that New Zealand has a gold standard regime for caring for people with COVID at home,” she said.

“Where (care) needs to be light touch, it is, and where extra care is needed, it’s provided.”

New Zealand is enduring its fiercest outbreak of the pandemic, with more than 100,000 people testing positive each week.

Ms Ardern encouraged travellers to take precautions, “as with any travel”.

“I’ve been stuck offshore with the flu before and you just have to make sure that you’ve got provisions to save and recover,” she said.

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