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New Zealanders everywhere should give thanks today to the dedicated team helping keep the country safe by carrying out COVID-19 testing.

Today the three millionth COVID PCR test was carried out – and NZ Medical Association Chair Dr Alistair Humphrey says everyone owes a huge debt of gratitude to the thousands of testers involved in this vital work.

“It’s not glamourous or cool, and it’s certainly not easy. It’s demanding, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s exhausting,” Dr Humphrey said.

“But it is absolutely essential, because it helps identify those cases of COVID-19 in the community so authorities can act quickly to isolate them and trace contacts.

“Without our testing regime, we would be a in a far worse position – as we have seen overseas.

“I take my hat off to them – and every Kiwi should as well. They are heroes.”

According to the New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Science (NZIMLS), the first COVID PCR test in New Zealand was performed in late January 2020, the 1 millionth test on the 11th October 2020, the 2 millionth test on 25th April 2021 and the 3 millionth test today. Since the nationwide Level 4 lockdown on 17th August there have been over 420,000 COVID PCR tests performed.

Dr Humphrey said many NZMA members are involved in testing, as well as being involved in the vaccination programme.

“Many of them are working long hours in difficult circumstances but are absolutely driven to stamp out COVID-19 in our community and keep everyone safe.

“Let’s all take a moment today to give thanks – silent or vocal – to everyone in the frontline fight COVID-19.”