Australia drops mandatory COVID pre-departure test

Greg Hunt. PHOTO: Greg Hunt/Twitter

Travellers will not be required to provide evidence of a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test when boarding an international flight to Australia. The new policy came into effect yesterday.

The travel policy change is part of Australia’s new entry requirements as it re-opens its international borders. 

As Australia moves towards living with COVID-19, some of the other emergency measures that will be dropped include restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels into and within Australian territory, and price gouging rules on rapid antigen tests (RAT) as supply is strong and to date, more than 509 million RATs have arrived in Australia.  

Australia’s Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt highlighted that following medical advice, the Biosecurity Emergency Determination relating to COVID-19 for Australia will not be renewed when it lapses on 17 April.

“I am taking this decision now so as to provide forward guidance based on the advice of the Professor Paul Kelly, the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer… The emergency period was a crucial early decision in Australia’s pandemic response… It has saved tens of thousands of lives as Australia avoided some of the worst outcomes from the early spread of the virus and now has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world,” Hunt said.

International travellers into and out of Australia will still be required to provide proof of double vaccination against COVID-19 and as well as comply with mask wearing while on international flights based on medical advice, Hunt added.