Massive changes to flying back to Australia CONFIRMED by Dominic Perrottet – and it’ll make coming back from overseas holidays a lot easier
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has scrapped Covid PCR tests for international travellers instead opting to mandate rapid antigen tests.
The drastic move signals the start of a return to normal travelling, with holiday-starved Australians desperate for a trip overseas now allowed to fly home without the added stress of lining up for a PCR test
Confirming the move on Thursday following a National Cabinet meeting Mr Perrottet said the changes would ease ‘substantial pressure’ on the state’s testing system.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured) has scrapped Covid PCR tests for international travellers instead opting to mandate rapid antigen tests
‘We’ll move to a rapid antigen test there – that will relieve substantial pressure on the system because we’ve got around 5000 people flying into Sydney every day,’ he told 2GB radio
Currently in NSW people travelling from overseas must receive a PCR test within 24 hours of their arrival and self-isolate until they are notified of a negative result.
Another PCR test is required after six days and a third is recommended on day 12.
The drastic move signals the start of a return to normal with holiday-starved Australians desperate for a trip overseas now allowed to fly home without the stress of PCR testing (pictured, travellers line up for pre-departure Covid-19 testing at Sydney International Airport)
Mr Perrottet also confirmed the isolation period for positive Covid-19 cases and close contacts would be slashed to seven days.
A close contact would also be more tightly defined, applying to household contacts of a confirmed case.
The new rules will take effect in NSW, Victoria, QLD, the ACT and SA from midnight Thursday, with Tasmania to join from January 1.
The changes come as Mr Perrottet said ‘tourism testing’ is clogging up the already overwhelmed testing system in NSW on Wednesday.
Thousands of people across NSW – including travellers required to have a negative PCR test before arriving in Queensland – were queuing for hours to be swabbed.
Wait times for results dragged out even longer, with the usual 24 hour turnaround blowing out to five days in some cases.
Mr Perrottet said the changes will alleviate substantial pressure on the state’s Covid-19 testing system (pictured, residents endured longer wait times in Sydney for PCR tests over the Christmas period)
Health staff shortages over the public holidays on top of the increased demand also had a major impact, as some testing centres were forced to turn people away or shut down.
NSW had seen a staggering 600,000 PCR tests conducted since Christmas Eve, with one quarter of all swabs given to healthy travellers looking to hop the border for a summer getaway.
‘There are people getting tests who don’t have any symptoms, are not feeling unwell… and are taking the place of people who are unwell or who are required to get a test by NSW Health,’ Mr Perrottet said.
The state’s ongoing Omicron outbreak has seen cases surge to more than 12,226 new infections on Thursday.