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COVID-19: Travellers arriving in Australia from China will need a negative COVID test result

COVID-19: Travellers arriving in Australia from China will need a negative COVID test result

As of 5 January 2023, travellers arriving from the People’s Republic of China, including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, will need to have taken a COVID-19 test and received a negative result before catching flights to Australia.

Australian Health Minister Mark Butler has made the announcement due to the current wave of infections in China and the potential for viral variants to arise from such a surge in transmissions.

“The decision to implement these temporary measures has been made out of an abundance of caution, taking into account the dynamic and evolving situation in China and the potential for new variants to emerge in an environment of high transmission.”

“This small but sensible move will help to protect people who are at risk of severe illness and safeguard our healthcare system.”

Mark Butler, Australian Minister for Health

Australia joins other countries worldwide, including France, India, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, the Republic of Korea, England and the United States of America, in implementing similar measures.

Testing details

From Thursday 5 January, travellers must have a COVID-19 test within 48 hours before travel and provide evidence of a negative result before travelling to Australia. These measures are ‘precautionary’ and ‘temporary’, and will be reviewed. Whether a RAT or a PCR test are required has not yet been specified.

2PAXfly Takeout

Well, I did predict this would happen soon. They left it until the beginning of 2023 to make the announcement. This is a sensible precaution, and we are not a shag on a rock given the number of countries, including the USA, a bunch of European Union countries, and some Asian destinations like Taiwan, that have implemented similar testing procedures for arrivals from China. I can understand some reticence by the government, given the current moves to normalise relationships with China after they degraded during the 9 years of the last coalition government.

This measure will not eliminate the import of transmission from China. Travellers could always come via a third country, but it should slow the transmission rate between the two countries, giving some time for Australian health authorities to prepare for an increase in cases.

This will not be good news for Australians wishing to travel to China to catch up with friends and family. Something they have not been able to do while China had closed its borders over the last few years.

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