Weekly testing of those crossing the Auckland border is "not adequate", a public health expert says after an Auckland truck driver who visited Tauranga tested positive for Covid-19.
It is not known if the driver, who officials said also visited Hamilton and Cambridge, was infectious at the time.
The driver was a partner of Foodstuffs, which has brands including Pak'nSave, Four Square and New World.
The company said the driver wore protective gear and followed and Covid-19 protocols while delivering to "a number of stores" in Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty. None were considered locations of interest that needed to be made public.
Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said the driver was tested subsequent to isolating after being a household contact of another case.
He said it was common for locations of interest to be kept private if exposure events are contained and all people are easily identified.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there was no suggestion the driver did anything they shouldn't have.
She said the driver was tested on August 27.
After 11.59pm tonight, all permitted workers crossing the boundary must show proof they have had a Covid test in the last seven days, in addition to other essential worker documents needed.
Otago University professor of public health Nick Wilson told the Bay of Plenty Times he was concerned about the design of the Auckland border.
He said the rules should have been that everyone crossing it should be double-vaccinated and tested at the border using rapid antigen tests that provide results in up to 30 minutes.
He said weekly testing of those crossing "is not adequate", though better than last year.
"We have to realise what's happened to Australia where the border around New South Wales has resulted in spread into Victoria where they've lost control ... and caused repeated problems for Queensland."
He said it would be a concern if the driver was infectious while travelling, although they may not have interacted with many, if any, people.
The risk was less given everyone they were in contact with could be contacted.
National's Covid-19 Response spokesman Chris Bishop said the Government should be rolling out rapid antigen tests quickly so essential workers crossing the Auckland border can use them daily.
Weekly testing for essential workers was "not good enough" and should be used as the backup to the rapid tests.
"Delta moves so quickly that a worker could spend six days with Covid-19 and infect potentially thousands of people in that time before they have to go and get a nasal PCR or saliva PCR test."
Bloomfield said that 100,000 rapid antigen test kits arrived in the country yesterday.
They would be used in two pilot programmes; one on patients in Middlemore Hospital's emergency department, and the other as part of Reconnecting New Zealanders.
Tauranga City Council commission chairwoman Anne Tolley said the situation showed the city's "huge" reliance on getting goods from Auckland.
"We can cope with having a temporary stop to housing construction, but we all have to eat."
She said it highlighted the importance for everyone to follow health protocols.
A Foodstuffs spokeswoman confirmed the driver was one its partners.
She said the sites the driver visited do not need to be named as locations of interest as the delivery areas were not accessible to the public.
The driver's routes and destinations have all been logged, and the driver had followed all PPE and Covid-19 protocols, she said.
She said truck drivers who go to Foodstuffs sites and stores are required to follow all Ministry of Health Covid-19 protocols and were physically distanced from staff who are loading, or unloading.
Protocols also included scanning or signing in, increased cleaning and mask-wearing.
"At no time do truck drivers enter the shop floor of stores or site," she said.
"We'd like to say ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa i tēnei wā to our teams and all the truck drivers throughout the motu who are all working tirelessly to make it possible to get stock safely to our stores and on the shelves for our customers."
Delta outbreak latest developments
- The driver was one of 13 cases in the community announced on Thursday.
- 19 people with Covid-19 were in hospital in Auckland - four were in ICU
- There were 536 active cases in the community
- 460 people have recovered from the virus since the outbreak began in August.
- More than 17,570 tests were carried out in the last 24 hours
- Close to 62,780 1st doses of the Covid-19 vaccine given on Wednesday.