In a bid to help ease overwhelmed testing centres, PM Scott Morrison has announced today that overseas travellers will no longer need to take any PCR tests after arriving in Australia.
The new rules mean that International arrivals into Australia will now take a free rapid antigen test when they land, removing the need to get a PCR test done within the previous 24-hour window of coming into the country.
Travellers will still be required to show a negative PCR test 72-hours prior to departure at their own expense before leaving their outbound destination for Australia.
“They will have a rapid antigen test on arrival,” Mr Morrison said.
“If that is negative, then they will not be required to have a further test, remembering that 99 per cent of those who are turning up at our airports are double vaccinated.
“And we’re not seeing large numbers cases come through international arrivals,” he said.
The travel industry will undoubtedly welcome the news as it removes another pain point to travelling to and returning from overseas.
Mr Morrison said the only exception to this rule would be arrivals into Queensland, which will keep that requirement until it reaches a 90% double vaccination rate.
The PM said national cabinet was aware of the “incredibly frustrating and highly disruptive” delays to testing services. He attributed these delays to higher numbers of cases produced by the Omicron variant.
“With Omicron, as we know, as the Chief Medical Officer has said on a number of occasions now, this is a strain that is less severe but more contagious,” he said.
“As a result, we are dealing with much higher levels of cases.”
The PM also said all states except Western Australia – which did not have anyone in attendance at today’s national cabinet meeting – would start moving to scrap RAT or PCR testing requirements for interstate travellers.
More details to come.
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