Back to top

Travelers to Australia must show negative test

Travelers to Australia will have to show a negative COVID-19 test before they can get on their plane, the prime minister said on Friday, as the city of Brisbane went into lockdown after the discovery of a case of a virulent new coronavirus variant. 

The more than 2 million residents of Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city, will be barred from leaving their homes for anything but essential business for three days from Friday evening after a worker at a quarantined hotel tested positive for the new variant, which was first detected in Britain.

Australia has found several cases of the variant but this was the first one to appear outside the quarantine system. Australia has also found a variant that emerged in South Africa in hotel quarantine.

It was not known if the hotel worker, a cleaner, was infected by someone who arrived from Britain but everyone would now need to show a negative test to travel to Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced.

“A negative test is not foolproof, but a positive test - they’re not coming,” Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told reporters in the capital, Canberra.

Morrison justified the Brisbane lockdown, given the danger that the new variant could quickly become the dominant strain of the virus.