E tū aviation and border workers are looking forward to
the Government’s rollout of saliva testing, which will
reduce the frequency of tests done via nasal swab.
option of saliva testing for COVID-19 for border workers
will start from June, with high-risk workers prioritised
It means this group of workers who are subject
to compulsory testing will only need to have a
nasopharyngeal test every 14 days, instead of every seven
Saliva tests will be done around every three
days in between compulsory nasal swabs.
E tū delegate
and international cabin crew member Tony Quayle says he’s
“heartened” to hear about the rollout of saliva
“This will be a major advance on what
we’ve got at the moment – anything that’s less
invasive will be good.
“There are concerns for cabin
crew having to get nasal swabs so often – at home and
overseas – and about the long-term effects of that. The
body isn’t designed to have things going up your nose all
the time and repeated trauma to this area is something to
Tony says many cabin crew members have
also felt “traumatised” by overseas testing –
previously via a throat swab, but now a nasal swab – which
is compulsory in several destinations.
Shanghai, for example, they require the nasal swabs to be
done in both nostrils. When you’re having that done,
combined with compulsory testing back home, it makes you
really concerned about the whole process,” he
“Even though most of us have been vaccinated,
our worlds have become quite uncomfortable with the
restrictions and things we are doing to keep people safe. In
that sense, the introduction of saliva testing is big
E tū’s head of aviation, Savage, says the
announcement is positive news for anyone who has to undergo
regular tests – particularly international cabin
“Cabin crew who fly internationally are
currently subject to a test via nasal swab in New Zealand
every seven days.
“The new saliva tests will mean
they’re now able to push this out to every fortnight, with
the saliva tests acting as a supplementary test in
Enduring a regular test every seven days,
combined with testing requirements at certain destinations,
has been an intrusive and uncomfortable procedure for cabin
crew and other E tū members, Savage says.
routine they have endured for the good of all Kiwis and to
keep each other, their families, and their communities
“To be able to lessen that imposition on crew,
and eventually other border workers, is an incredibly
positive step,” he says.
Savage says a “very high
percentage” of those who work at the border are now fully
vaccinated or on their way to being fully
“High vaccination rates mean the risk of
infection is lower, but workers are also less likely to show
symptoms if they do become unwell – frequent saliva
testing can help in this