Despite Anthony Albanese saying just a few days ago that there were no plans to introduce restrictions, Health Minister Mark Butler announced yesterday that the Australian Government will introduce pre-departure testing for COVID-19 for people travelling to Australia from China.
The measure, which comes into force on Thursday January 5, requires travellers from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong and Macau, to take a COVID-19 test within 48 hours before travel and show evidence of a negative test result.
Butler said the decision has been made to safeguard Australia from the risk of potential new emerging variants, and in recognition of the rapidly evolving situation in China and uncertainty about emerging viral variants.
“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.”
“Our absolute priority is keeping our community safe and continuing to be a world leader when it comes to responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This small but sensible move will help to protect people who are at risk of severe illness and safeguard our healthcare system,” Mr Butler said.
The Minister indicated they are also considering improving waste water surveillance both on planes and in the local community.
Canada also joined the growing list of countries to impose restrictions on travellers from China yesterday.