From 12:01am on Thursday 5 January 2023, travellers arriving in Australia from China, including Hong Kong and Macau will be required to undertake a COVID-19 test within a 48-hour period prior to their scheduled departure and show evidence of a negative test result when travelling to Australia.
Passengers should be prepared to provide evidence of a negative test before boarding their flight, and passengers may need to provide evidence of a negative test again once they have arrived in Australia.
Australia joined the United States, the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Canada requiring all travellers to present a negative test of COVID taken no more than 48 hours before departure.
China has labelled the move unnecessary and the opposition accused the government of creating "chaos and confusion" by overruling the advice of the nation's chief medical officer.
Are there any exemptions to the testing requirements?
Yes. There are some exemptions to the testing requirements.
Exemptions apply to:
- Airline crew
- Children under 12 years old on the day they are scheduled to depart
- People with evidence from a medical practitioner of a COVID-19 infection in the last 30 days, including confirmation that they are no longer infectious or symptomatic, and the day of the first positive test result (which must be at least 7 days before the date of the medical certificate).
- People with evidence from a medical practitioner in the last 30 days that they have a medical condition that prevents them from undertaking a COVID-19 test.
- Emergency medical evacuation flights and those accompanying people on these flights.
What if my flight has a stop in another country or I transfer flights in another country?
All people boarding flights originating in China, including Hong Kong and Macau and ending in Australia need to be able to show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test. This includes indirect flights that transit through a third country. For example, from China to Singapore before ending in Australia.
The testing requirement does not apply to those who travel from China, including Hong Kong or Macau to another country and spend several days there prior to travelling to Australia.
What about for passengers transiting through China, including Hong Kong and Macau?
Travellers on flights transiting through China, including Hong Kong and Macau originating in other countries do not need to undertake pre-departure testing. For example, people boarding a flight in London that transits through Hong Kong and ends in Sydney do not need to test.
However, the testing requirement does apply to those who travel to China, including Hong Kong or Macau from another country and spend several days there prior to travelling to Australia.
Are tests needed for travellers from China transiting through Australia?
No. If a person is travelling directly through Australia, a negative test result is not required. However, if a person intends to spend several days in Australia before travelling to a third country, a negative pre-departure test is required.
Does this apply to Australian Citizens?
Yes. If an Australian citizen is returning from China, including Hong Kong or Macau, they must undertake pre-departure testing.
What does this mean for international students coming from China?
Students travelling from China, including Hong Kong or Macau to undertake studies in Australia will need to undertake a COVID-19 test within a 48-hour period prior to the day of the student is scheduled to depart and show evidence of a negative test result when travelling to Australia.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.