People arriving in Australia will no longer be required to get a pre-departure COVID-19 test, effective from 17 April 2022.
This is the date that the federal government’s current Biosecurity Emergency Determination period will lapse. Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed yesterday that, “following medical advice”, the government will not renew this when it expires next month.
From 17 April 2022, the ban on cruise ships in Australian waters will also be lifted. This decision was already announced on 15 March.
Some baseline health measures will remain in place indefinitely, including the requirement to wear face masks on international flights to and from Australia. Travellers will also continue to need proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to fly to Australia, and in the case of Australian citizens & permanent residents, to leave the country without an exemption.
The Australian government introduced pre-departure testing as a requirement to travel to Australia on 22 January 2021 to try to reduce the risk of people bringing COVID-19 into Australia. But it was never full-proof, costly for travellers, took capacity away from COVID testing systems in other countries, and made international travel just that extra bit more complicated (and risky) for people coming back to Australia.
The pre-flight test originally had to be a PCR test, but the Australian government also now accepts rapid antigen tests.
Travellers arriving in Australia from overseas may still need to get a COVID-19 test/s on arrival, even after 17 April, depending on which state or territory they arrive in. These requirements are determined by the individual state governments and could vary between states.
Anyone travelling to Australia will also still need to complete a Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD). This form was introduced last month and can only be completed within 7 days of flying. Numerous AFF members have reported difficulties with completing the DPD recently, so it seems there may be some teething problems.
For outbound travel from Australia, you may still need to get a COVID-19 test if your destination requires it. Many countries have recently dropped pre-flight COVID-19 testing requirements, including Canada and Cambodia, but it still remains a requirement to enter some destinations.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Predictions of when international flights may resume/bans lifted