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NT to provide RAT tests to interstate arrivals, scraps PCR requirement

written by Hannah Dowling | January 4, 2022

Virgin Australia B737-800 VH-YFU departing Darwin. (Sid Mitchell)

The Northern Territory has dropped its requirement for travellers arriving interstate to provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test result prior to arrival into the Territory.

Instead, fully vaccinated arrivals coming from interstate will be provided with a free rapid antigen test by Northern Territory authorities, which will need to be taken within two hours of arrival into the state.

Results of the test will need to be declared online, also within two hours of arrival, according to NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner. The new rules come into effect immediately.

“So, if you’re in a queue down south trying to get a PCR test, leave,” Chief Minister Gunner said. “We’ll sort it out when you get here.”

Chief Minister Gunner stated that the change has been made as a result of PCR “testing issues” interstate.


“PCR supply and testing resources down south are getting thinner and thinner,” he said. “They are buckling in some places [and] the shelves are empty of RAT kits.

“It’s now clear we need to be in full control of our testing regime, and we cannot rely on other jurisdictions.”

“This is an existing capability, easy to implement, and effective immediately,” the NT minister said.

Upon arrival into the Northern Territory, be that by air or road, fully vaccinated travellers will be directed to a collection point where they will be able to pick up a free RAT kit.

Unvaccinated arrivals are still required to enter into two-weeks mandatory quarantine.

The news comes just days after Queensland made a similar decision to scrap its PCR testing requirements for incoming arrivals.

From 1 January, travellers will now be able to enter Queensland with a negative PCR or rapid antigen test result.

“The chief health officer is satisfied that a negative result using a rapid antigen test is sufficient for interstate arrivals,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

Travellers into Queensland will need to perform their rapid antigen test prior to completing their border declaration, which is required before entering into the state.

Like in the NT, the decision in Queensland was made in order to reduce undue pressure on the PCR testing system throughout the country.

The Queensland government also recently dropped its previous requirement for all arrivals in the state to perform a second COVID PCR test on day five after arriving into the state, due to pressure it placed on testing resources in Queensland.

Meanwhile, in South Australia, Premier Steven Marshall has now scrapped all entry testing requirements for interstate travellers, in light of increasing case numbers in all states and territories.

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Comment (1)

  • David Arnold


    QLD 6781 COVID cases today. When are they going to stop the nonsense of travellers (including myself and family today) entering QLD doing a precious RAT test that QLD have no way of verifying that it was done or the result?

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