SUNBIZ

Australia’s Change in Travel Rule Welcomed, Provides Greater Flexibility: Fantasha Lockington

“Coupled with the required timeframe being cut in half for those who have tested positive from 14 days to seven days – these two changes reduce the waiting time for travellers. These are clear indications to us that the ongoing review of border testing requirements is in line with improved global understanding of COVID, our response to its variants based on vaccination levels and the ongoing practice of community suppression measures.”
25 Jan 2022 11:00
Australia’s Change in Travel Rule Welcomed, Provides Greater Flexibility: Fantasha Lockington
Fantasha Lockington.

The changed requirements to a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) 24 hours prior to departure to Australia is very warmly welcomed by the tourism industry.

This was the comment by Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (FHTA) chief executive officer Fantasha Lockington in a release yesterday.

She said the move provides greater flexibility for Fiji’s tourism industry.

 

Her comments come after holding talks with Australian counterparts yesterday.

From January 23, Australia announced that travellers to the island continent were no longer required to provide a negative PCR test.

Mrs Lockington said: “Coupled with the required timeframe being cut in half for those who have tested positive from 14 days to seven days – these two changes reduce the waiting time for travellers.

 

“These are clear indications to us that the ongoing review of border testing requirements is in line with improved global understanding of COVID, our response to its variants based on vaccination levels and the ongoing practice of community suppression measures.”

 

She said this has an impact on:
–  Testing costs,

–  How long a traveller needs to stay in the country if they test positive and,

–  Simplifying the rules for how they get back as soon as the seven days isolation period is completed.

 

Fiji Still Requires PCR Test
“For Fiji – we still require visitors to provide a negative PCR test 48 hours pre-arrival into Fiji – and we have no doubt this will be reviewed based on the countries’ (we have opened up to) positivity rates,” Mrs Lockington said.

“For the US and Australia, these are still very high.

“For tourism operators this change from the PCR to RAT simplifies travel rules for returning visitors – now both Australia and the US have the same requirements.

 

“RAT’s cost around $10-$15 retail, but we need medically trained personnel to swab guests, confirm the result and produce a report that will be checked by the airline and immigration officials on the country the visitor is disembarking at.

 

“So the cost of a Rapid Test in a resort in the Yasawa Islands or Taveuni will have the logistics for the testing, verification and reporting included in the total costs, while the same test done at a lab, approved pharmacy or hotel in Nadi may be lower.

 

“A PCR test however could cost between $150 – $350 depending on where you had the test taken and whether you needed it turned around within a few hours (therefore more costly) instead of the usual one-two days because it was being tested in a cycle with a number of other samples.”

 

Access To Supply Of More RAT
Mrs Lockington said: “Now all we need to ensure is that Fiji can access the larger supply of Rapid Antigen Test kits now required, along with the rest of the world demanding these kits.”

 

Feedback: ranobab@fijisun.com.fj



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