/Pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement for international visitors to be scrapped | 7NEWS

Pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement for international visitors to be scrapped | 7NEWS

The pre-departure testing requirements for international travellers are set to be scrapped within weeks.

On Friday, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the government’s biosecurity emergency determination will not be renewed after April 17, when the determination expires.

The move would mean there would be no need for pre-flight testing for arrivals into Australia which currently requires travellers to return a negative PCR swab taken within three days of a flight or a rapid antigen test no more than 24 hours prior to take-off.

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However, arrivals into Australia must still provide proof of double vaccination and wear masks on all domestic and international flights under non-emergency provisions.

The lapse of the current biosecurity order after more than two years will also see international cruise ships returning to Australian waters for the first time since March 2020 and an end to the health minister’s emergency powers.

“It’s time,” Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly told reporters.

“For two years we have been looking to protect Australians with measures at the border, and measures to decrease transmission of the virus … (but) we’re moving to a new stance of protecting the most vulnerable.

“(The emergency act) needs to be a proportionate measure, it needs to be effective, it needs to be necessary and it should only last as long as it is necessary and that’s why we are making those changes from April 17.”

‘Normalising Australia’

Mr Hunt said he was pleased the emergency declaration was being eased.

“I’m very happy to do that, that’s about normalising Australia,” he said.

The health minister has spoken with Qantas and Virgin about changes to pre-flight testing requirements.

Previously, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the removal of pre-departure testing was an important milestone for Australia.

“While we’re never complacent about the challenges COVID can present and new variants, we’re watching all of those closely as we keep looking through that windscreen,” he told reporters.

“Hopefully we can continue to see COVID in the rear vision mirror.”

– with AAP