The Government says it's working fast to figure out how rapid Covid-19 testing will work for critical workers in different stages of the planned Omicron response.
Confusion emerged after some truckies received emails saying publicly-funded saliva testing ended last week.
After Herald enquiries, the Ministry of Health said it understood why transport operators, as critical businesses, wanted to have access to surveillance testing.
Multiple agencies were now "working at pace" to implement how testing will apply for critical workers in different phases under Omicron, the ministry added.
Required testing to leave the Auckland regional border was in place until 11.59pm on January 16.
When that rule lapsed, some border workers had inadvertently signed up for saliva testing under a "permitted workers' system".
Those people were moved to a border worker testing register, and free saliva testing was extended until January 28.
"Understandably, the transport sector wants to continue surveillance testing of its workforce as a critical business," the health ministry spokesman said today.
"In the meantime, anyone who is symptomatic or a close contact of a case can present at their local community testing centre or GP for a free nasopharyngeal test," he added.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has outlined criteria needed to register as a critical business.
Such businesses must be involved in "basic human needs" with some or all workers in food production, health services, or distribution and sales.
The MBIE website said return-to-work testing will only be available at the second phase of the planned Omicron response, but eligible companies can soon apply for "critical" status.
The second phase will be activated if or when case numbers surge and the response strategy shifts to focus on identifying people most at risk of getting severely ill.
In the second phase, testing and tracing will focus on protecting that vulnerable group and critical workers, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said last week.
Transport operators raised concerns after some truck drivers received emails saying publicly-funded saliva testing ended last week.
A freight transport group last week said it was worried about potential costs if publicly-funded testing stopped.
"We don't really have clarity on what the expectations are at this point," Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett said at the time.
National Party transport spokesman Simeon Brown said it was important for drivers and employers to have access to rapid tests, as Omicron would put a strain on the sector.
Act leader David Seymour also voiced concern about the Government's handling of saliva testing regimes.