More good news for those planning Australia trips, with the state of Victoria set to become the third in the country served by direct international flights to scrap its requirement for fully vaccinated travellers to take an on-arrival COVID-19 test after touching down from overseas.
The new policy comes into effect for arrivals from Saturday 23rd April 2022 onwards, and follows a recent removal of pre-departure COVID-19 test requirements for all travellers heading to Australia.
There will also therefore be no isolation required when you land in Melbourne, allowing you to get on with your trip immediately, while the state government shifts to recommending that you take a post-arrival test, a similar stance we recently saw implemented in Western Australia.
This now leaves New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia as the only states imposing mandatory on-arrival testing for international travellers, though in all cases this is a self-administered antigen test you can perform quickly and easily, since South Australia recently downgraded its PCR test requirement.
On-arrival testing is being scrapped
If you arrive in Victoria from overseas on or before 22nd April 2022, you will still be obliged to follow the current isolation and testing requirement:
- Immediately quarantine at home or other private accommodation (e.g. hotel room) upon arrival.
- Get a rapid antigen test (ART/RAT), or a PCR test if you don’t have access to a rapid antigen test, within 24 hours of arriving in Australia and continue to quarantine until you get a negative result.
This will no longer apply for those touching down from 23rd April 2022 onwards.
Pre-departure testing has already been scrapped
Victoria’s relaxation of on-arrival testing later this week comes only a few days after a wider national removal of the Commonwealth Government requirement for a pre-departure test for fully vaccinated travellers heading to Australia from overseas.
This test is no longer required, since 18th April 2022, which coincided with Australia ending its biosecurity emergency period that had been in effect for the last two years.
Melbourne arrival process
Here’s how the process now looks for travellers to fly internationally into Melbourne from Singapore, or from other countries with direct flights.
- Meet Commonwealth Government requirements (eVisa) to enter Australia
- Be fully vaccinated under the Commonwealth Government definition
- Complete the Digital Passenger Declaration within 72 hours of departure
Note that the latest full list of requirements for international travellers arriving in Victoria here has not yet been updated to reflect the new test requirement relaxation for arrivals from 23rd April.
On-arrival testing in other states
Despite this latest relaxation in Victoria, three other Australian states served by international flights still enforce on-arrival testing at the time of writing, but it’s great to see the total dwindling.
You can still expect to have to comply with the following requirements on arrival in certain states, depending on your entry point in Australia.
(From 23rd April 2022)
|State / City||On-arrival testing|
|Test Type||Test Deadline|
|New South Wales
|ART||Within 24 hours|
Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast
|ART||Within 24 hours|
In the case of ART tests, these are self-swabs using rapid antigen kits approved for use in Australia. Note that these are referred to as “RATs” in Australia.
In all cases you must self-isolate at home or in suitable accommodation (e.g. hotel room) until a negative test result is received.
Hopefully this latest move by Victoria and the recent removal of pre-departure testing will encourage these last three states to follow suit and drop on-arrival testing in the weeks ahead, though notably New South Wales today reiterated that its requirements would not be changing.
That’s strange because the two states (NSW and VIC) came to a joint policy for COVID-19 arrival processes in December last year, designed to harmonise the rules for international travellers flying into both Sydney and Melbourne, but the two sides clearly don’t agree on this latest step.
Singapore – Melbourne testing costs
With Singapore having adopted its simplified Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF) process for fully vaccinated arriving travellers, and Victoria dropping its on-arrival test requirement, there will soon be only one COVID-19 test involved on a round-trip.
Here are the estimated testing costs per fully vaccinated traveller for a Singapore – Melbourne – Singapore trip example, based on the new testing requirements from 23rd April 2022, once on-arrival testing in Victoria has been dropped.
|Australia pre-departure (ART)||~S$17*|
* Based on a S$12 Tele-ART test with a provider based in Singapore, plus S$5 for your own approved test kit
Singapore is also set to drop this pre-departure test requirement for inbound travellers (i.e. those returning from Melbourne in this case) in the coming weeks, which would completely remove all testing requirements in both directions for a trip like this.
Let’s hope for some good news on that front soon, since it would bring Melbourne trips almost completely back to the pre-COVID process.
In the meantime, travellers now have the option of taking a self-swab Video ART in Australia with a provider based in Singapore to satisfy the pre-departure test requirement within two days of heading back to Changi, starting from just S$9 (though most still charge from around S$12), plus the cost of an approved test kit.
More good news from Australia following pre-arrival testing removal and relaxations of on-arrival testing in some other states, with Victoria now confirming that mandatory on-arrival testing for fully vaccinated international travellers will no longer be required from 23rd April.
This brings testing requirements for a round-trip from Singapore to Melbourne down to just a single ART swab, which can be self-administered and observed via a Tele-ART provider in Singapore.
Let’s hope the three remaining Australian states still imposing on-arrival testing will follow the lead shown by Western Australia and Victoria, for a more streamlined process regardless of where in the country you are heading.
(Cover Photo: Denise Jans)