COVID test for international travellers to Australia ditched

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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.

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

“That was the view, that we progressively take away those items which are no longer required.”

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

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 rapid antigen test (RAT) late last year.

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

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