The bus driver who transported a woman who later tested positive for Covid-19 to Rotorua on Saturday will be tested and isolated for 14 days.
However, the Ministry of Health has confirmed that the other bus drivers will be prioritised for testing if symptomatic and will not have to isolate.
Rotorua is now a quarantine hub after Auckland ran out of hotel space. On Saturday night busloads of 232 Kiwis arriving back to New Zealand from overseas were sent directly to Rotorua.
They are staying for 14 days at the Ibis Hotel and the Sudima Hotel.
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday announced that one of three new cases was a woman in her 30s, who had been transported to Rotorua.
The woman, who had travelled from Peru, was staying at the Ibis in Rotorua, and was known about on Wednesday afternoon but was not part of that day's official count.
It followed the guest's third day of isolation, and their first Covid-19 test. Guests at the Ibis Hotel were placed in lockdown and told not to leave their rooms.
The other two cases, all in managed isolation, were in Christchurch.
A Ministry of Health spokeswoman told the Rotorua Daily Post the bus driver who transported the woman to Rotorua would be tested and isolated.
The other bus drivers who transported returnees to Rotorua at the weekend would be prioritised for testing if symptomatic but would not be placed in isolation because there was "always" at least a 2m gap between bus drivers and passengers when operating a bus on an airport-hotel transfer, the spokeswoman said.
"In addition, masks and gloves are always worn during the loading and unloading of luggage or in any situation where our drivers may be closer than 2m to a passenger," the spokeswoman said.
"All passengers had been through the border health check and were assessed as being asymptomatic for Covid-19. Virus transmission is much more likely when a person is unwell."
She said there was no requirement for bus drivers to wear a mask while driving unless it was on high-risk transport - for example, a hotel to hospital transfer.
Health Minister David Clark announced a revised strategy on Tuesday which gave priority for testing to those who were most likely to have been exposed to Covid-19.
This included staff who worked in managed isolation and quarantine facilities, including those who drive returnees from the airport to the isolation facilities.
A Rotorua tour bus driver, who was not one of the drivers who transported the returnees, told the Rotorua Daily Post he could not understand why all the bus drivers would not have to quarantine after transporting the returnees to Rotorua.
"Sure in some of the more modern coaches they have air conditioning that is separate to the driver, but it is still in the same vicinity," the man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said.
He questioned why the drivers would not be put into accommodation for the normal 14-day quarantine period.
The bus driver welcomed the revised strategy but believed the Government still needed to get tougher.
"They definitely, definitely, need to be quarantined," he said.
Meanwhile, Rotorua Multicultural Council president Margriet Theron said there was so much fear in the community and comments around closing the borders, without understanding that citizens had the right to return to New Zealand.
She said despite the impact on tourism being huge, with proper management at the two hotels locally there would be job opportunities for Kiwis, for migrants on work visas who had lost their jobs and for international students who relied on part-time jobs.
"We have to get to a point where we trust the isolation and quarantine systems. The pandemic is still growing worldwide but our economy requires us to eventually allow migrants, international students and tourists in. We have to learn to live with Covid-19 while protecting our health."
- Additional reporting by Kelly Makiha