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NT scraps PCR testing for interstate travellers, RAT tests on arrival

The Northern Territory has further eased COVID-19 testing requirements, switching PCR tests for rapid antigen tests upon arrival, for domestic travellers due to interstate chaos.

The Northern Territory has further eased COVID-19 testing requirements, switching PCR tests for rapid antigen tests upon arrival, for domestic travellers due to interstate chaos.

The Northern Territory has announced that new arrivals are no longer required to show evidence of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before travelling to the territory.

They will now be handed a rapid antigen test upon arrival in the NT so they can self-test and report their result within two hours.

“If you are in a queue down south trying to get a PCR test, leave and we will sort it out when you get here,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner told reporters on Tuesday.

Children under two years are not required to be tested.

Mr Gunner said the policy change was a response to testing issues in other states that had seen long queues, delayed result delivery and clinics close.

“PCR supply and testing down south are getting thinner and thinner. They are buckling in some places. The shelves are empty of RAT kits,” he said.

“It is now clear we need to be in full control of our testing regime and we cannot rely on other jurisdictions.

“You have to keep moving and adjusting as COVID moves and adjusts”.

The NT’s border rules for unvaccinated travellers would remain. That means all unvaccinated interstate travellers arriving in the NT will be sent to a quarantine facility.

Authorities will enforce the rule at airports and road border checkpoints.

On New Year’s Eve, the Territory introduced an indoor mask mandate, but authorities say it’s “too early” to tell how effective it has been. 

Of the 75 new infections territory-wide yesterday, more than 40 are interstate and international travellers, and about seven cases are under investigation.

Three cases are presumed to be as a result of community transmission and 21 are known close contacts.

Twenty-four people are in territory hospitals with COVID-19 but only four have symptoms and none are in intensive care.

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Source: AAP