The Australian government will now require travellers bound for Australia to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test prior to departure.
This decision comes as an effort to curb the spread of the new COVID-19 variant spreading internationally.
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, said that 80% of Australians looking to return were in countries with exposure to the new COVID-19 strain.
“The purpose here is to both reduce and debulk the risk in terms of exposure to the new strain, starting firstly with arrangements that are substantively already in place on what the chief medical officer would call the should basis and turning them into the must basis,” said Morrison.
Pre-flight COVID-19 testing is already made mandatory for repatriation charter flights arranged by the Australian government, and will now be extended to commercial flights to Down Under.
In addition to pre-flight testing, Masks will also be mandatory throughout domestic and international flights, with exemptions for children under the age of 12. The same rule will also apply to domestic airports.
The country will also further limit international arrivals. Inbound traveller quotas will be halved until 15th February,2021, on flights to Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales.
Australia’s borders have been closed to most foreign nationals since March 2020. However, citizens and permanent residents are allowed to return, subject to a strict arrivals cap and a 14-day hotel quarantine.
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