Where to get tested for COVID before overseas and interstate travel | Illawarra Mercury


Travellers are once again able to venture overseas as borders slowly start to reopen and while the rules vary between countries, a common requirement is a negative COVID-19 test result. International travellers can access PCR testing with a rapid turnaround on results at Sydney International Airport. It costs $79 and Histopath, the private pathology company that operates the lab at the airport, promises results within 90 minutes. Read more: Call for portaloos at testing clinics as Illawarra residents face five-hour waits People travelling to China, which also requires a blood test, can also access fast testing for $120. The clinic at the airport is only available to international travellers whose flights are departing that same day. Travellers are advised to arrive at least four hours ahead of their flight. A number of private pathology providers also offer test results within a day for travellers at clinics in the community. People who need to undergo a PCR test for international travel must pay for the test. Many countries require that travellers return a negative result from a PCR test close to departure, although time frames vary. Some countries, like New Zealand, require this within 72 hours, the United Kingdom mandates testing within 48 hours, while the USA needs a test no more than 24 hours before departure. Rapid antigen tests are now available in NSW for use at home but while they provide a faster way of detecting a COVID infection, PCR tests – which are conducted at clinics – are the most accurate. Meanwhile, travellers from NSW also need a negative PCR test result before they can enter Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and, depending on what local government area they are coming from, Tasmania. Tests for domestic travel are available for free at testing clinics. However, these border requirements are placing extra strain on clinics in the Illawarra and other parts of NSW, which are experiencing high demand. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has called on Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to drop the PCR testing requirement for people coming into her state, and instead accept rapid antigen test results. Read more: ‘Worst Christmas present’: Wollongong nurse’s isolation blues “They might have been negative on day one when they had their test, but they could well be positive on day four or day five when they cross the border,” Mr Hazzard said. “It makes no sense at all.” Ms Palaszczuk has already agreed to revisit travel requirements come January 1, but Mr Hazzard wants that brought forward. When coming into NSW from overseas, fully vaccinated travellers must undergo a COVID test within 24 hours and isolate until they receive a negative result, then get another test on day six. Those who are not fully vaccinated must still quarantine for 14 days. The Illawarra Mercury newsroom is funded by our readers. You can subscribe to support our journalism here. Sign up for breaking news emails below…


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