Australia drops pre-departure COVID-19 test for international arrivals

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International travelers flying to Australia will no longer need to present a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test beginning April 17, 2022.

This was confirmed by the country’s health minister, Greg Hunt on March 25, 2022 at a local press event in the Gold Coast where he announced the government’s plan to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine ‘winter dose’ for vulnerable people.  

Hunt said he spoke to the chief executive officers of Qantas and Virgin (VAH) Australia, Alan Joyce and Jayne Hrdlicka, respectively. He also consulted the government’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly.

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

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

At the beginning of 2021, pre-departure tests were introduced to Australian arrival requirements in an effort to stop as many COVID-19 cases as possible from arriving in the country.

The health minister’s announcement came a couple of days after Prime Minister Scott Morrison hinted that test-free travel to Australia is “not far away now.”

Other regions in the world, particularly, UK, Europe and Canada, have also started to drop the pre-flight test requirements. 

In the United States, the CEOs of 10 US airlines have appealed to President Biden to also ditch mask and pre-departure test requirements for international travelers. 

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