<p>Bondi Beach, Sydney</p>

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Australia to drop pre-departure testing and allow cruises again

Measures will be dropped from 17 April but masks will still be required on international flights to Australia

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Friday 25 March 2022 07:31
Comments

Just three weeks after Australia fully lifted its travel ban on vaccinated overseas visitors, the government has announced it will scrap its pre-departure test rule next month.

Greg Hunt, the health minister, said that when emergency Covid-19 restrictions lapse on 17 April they will not be renewed.

From that date, fully vaccinated travellers entering Australia will no longer need to present a negative pre-departure test result - currently, they must take a PCR test within the three days before travel or an antigen test within 24 hours.

But passengers will be required to wear a mask while on international flights to Australia, and complete a Digital Passenger Declaration – including details of their vaccinations.

Unvaccinated travellers to Australia will still need a valid travel exemption – special, hard-to-secure permission – plus quarantine on arrival.

Restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels into and within Australia – imposed on 15 March 2020 – will also end on 17 April.

At a press conference announcing the change, Mr Hunt said: “Given that the vaccination requirements remain and the masking requirements, the strong medical advice is that [pre-departure tests] would no longer be required, particularly as there are some challenges in some jurisdictions in having access to those tests or improving those tests.

“So, I spoke with the CEOs of both Virgin Airlines, [board president of Tennis Australia] Jayne Hrdlicka and Qantas, Alan Joyce. But we also took the medical advice of the chief medical officer on this, and that was the view, that we progressively take away those items which are no longer required.”

On 21 February 2022 most of Australia ended a ban on almost all international arrivals that had been in effect for almost two years.

Western Australia followed suit and eased its restrictions on overseas visitors on 3 March.

In the year to the end of January 2022, international tourism to Australia was down 97 per cent compared with same spell to the end of January 2019.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Australia welcomed 9.4m international visitors annually, with tourism providing one in 20 jobs.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in