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Pre-departure COVID test for international travellers to Australia ditched

The federal government is ditching a requirement for overseas travellers to provide a negative COVID-19 test before they fly to Australia.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government would no longer make it a condition of entry that people had to show they had tested negative for the virus before they travelled here.

The change will come into effect on April 17.

“Given that the vaccination requirements remain and the masking requirements, the medical advice is that [the test] would no longer be required,” Mr Hunt said.

“Particularly as there are some challenges in some jurisdictions in having access to those tests or proving those tests.”

Mr Hunt said he spoke to the chief executive officers of both Qantas and Virgin airlines.

“But we also took the medical advice of the Chief Medical Officer,” he said.

Mr Hunt will not extend orders under the Biosecurity Act which allowed the government to make the test a requirement of entry into Australia.

He confirmed other emergency measures, including restrictions on cruise ships and price-gouging rules on rapid antigen tests, would also lapse on April 17.

The pre-departure tests were introduced at the beginning of last year in an effort to stop as many COVID cases as possible from arriving in Australia.

The government originally required someone to provide a negative PCR test result within three days of travelling, but that changed to a RAT late last year.

Other countries, including many in Europe, have also begun to ditch pre-flight tests.

Source: abc.net.au, published 25 March 2022

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