An Australian epidemiologist is calling for the federal government to have international arrivals tested for the CCP virus before leaving the airport.
Mary-Louise McLaws, an epidemiologist professor at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), doesn’t think testing less than three days before boarding is enough, which has already been required for travellers entering Australia.
“They often have it several days before they hop on the plane,” she told the Nine Network on Wednesday.
“Anything can happen between that three-day period of having the PCR (test). They may have to transit. They may, of course, inadvertently acquire it there. It’s just an additive bundle of prevention.”
The call comes at the time when New South Wales (NSW), the most populous Australian state, announced new rules for international arrivals on Tuesday.
Travellers must have a COVID-19 nose and throat PCR test within 24 hours of arriving in NSW and have another test after seven days.
Before receiving a negative result of the day seven test, they are not allowed to go to “high-risk premises,” including aged care, disability care, healthcare, and correctional facilities.
Further, children under the age of 12 who are not fully vaccinated are not allowed to go to school until receiving a negative result of the day 7 test. They also cannot enter “high-risk premises” for two weeks after arriving.
The rules apply to Australians returning home, NSW residents, and tourists entering the state, with New Zealanders and Singaporeans being the first groups who are allowed to visit.
The list of the “high-risk premises” has been shortened from a longer one published last Sunday, which included pubs, restaurants, schools, sports matches, and events such as concerts and child care.
“NSW Health has updated advice for recently arrived, fully vaccinated international arrivals to no longer restrict entry into large gatherings of hospitality venues for seven days following arrival,” NSW Health said in a statement.
Australia is currently reaching the milestone of an 80 percent double-dose COVID-19 vaccination rate, with 78.1% of people aged 16 and over fully vaccinated and 88 percent having got their first dose.
NSW has also accelerated further easing of restrictions for fully vaccinated as the state reaches the 90 percent double dose milestone.