Today is another one of those days which travellers have been eagerly awaiting, with all testing for overseas arrivals scrapped for flights departing to Australia as of Monday April 18.
“If you are departing to Australia on or after 18 April 2022, you will not need to undertake a COVID-19 test prior to travelling,” is the official word of the Department of Home Affairs.
Until yesterday, all travellers headed for Australia – both visitors and returning citizens – had to undergo either a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or a rapid antigen test (RAT) within 72 hours before boarding their flight.
But from this week, Australia joins the growing number of countries reducing or removing testing, in line with previous milestones such as ending quarantine.
Australia introduced PCR testing within three days prior to travel as an entry requirement in early 2021, and in January softened that stance to allow for an a RAT test 24 hours before departure.
"International travellers into and out of Australia will still be required to provide proof of double vaccination against COVID-19," says Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. "Travellers will also still be required to wear a mask while on international flights based on medical advice."
This move comes a little over two years to the day that Australia slammed its borders shut as Covid-19 first gripped the world.
The axing of incoming tests has been welcomed by the Australian tourism industry, which has been crippled by border closures and incoming testing requirements, with domestic tourism alone not enough to sustain it.
Across the Tasman in New Zealand, a phased reopening is now underway however arrivals there will still need to present a negative PCR or RAT test result, along with submitting to a further RAT test after landing.
Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane system became a thing of the past from April 1 when all fully-vaccinated visitors will be able to enter with no arrival testing or quarantine period required.
Additional reporting by David Flynn