South Australia repeals all COVID test requirements for interstate travelers

Victorians traveling into southern Australia before the new year say they are “frustrated” they had to jump through “unnecessary” hangers to enter the state before restrictions were lifted Friday afternoon.

SA Premier Steven Marshall said travelers would no longer require a test or have to submit a travel application before entering the state after SA registered 2,093 new cases of COVID-19 on New Year’s Eve.

Just five days earlier, travelers required a negative PCR test before crossing the border.

From last Monday, a negative fast antigen test (RAT) was required, which quickly increased the demand for do-it-yourself tests and exacerbated a shortage of RATs.

Frustrating search for ‘unnecessary’ tests

Geelong resident April Hayes said she had planned for a week to travel to Adelaide to visit her father, and she found it incredibly difficult to find RATs for her partner and two children.

“I called about 40 places, I think – servos, shops, pharmacies,” she said.

“I tried everywhere. There was only one place out of the whole Geelong area I found that had one that was this little milk bar.”

Ms Hayes said she was “really annoyed” to read that the claims were scrapped Friday, just over 24 hours after she arrived in the state.

“I had all the drama, went through all this – you had to rely on getting tests that were not available. It was very stressful,” she said.

A police officer was standing in front of a white four-wheel drive vehicle with cars parked behind it
COVID tests and travel applications were previously required to cross into southern Australia from the interstate. (ABC News: Michael Clements)

Hundreds used before changes

Merbein resident Janelle Kontrec said she spent $ 200 on RATs for her family to travel into southern Australia.

“It’s a little annoying – it’s $ 200 I could have spent at the pub,” she said.

“But that’s the way it goes.”

Mrs Kontrec said she was lucky to find herself a RAT in Mildura, where hundreds of people were looking for tests before crossing the border.

“Fortunately, we got it [a chemist] had them. We drove in in 10 minutes and got them. We were lucky – they literally walked out the door, “she said.

“There was not one person in the store who did not buy one.”

South Australian Prime Minister Steven Marshall said the previous test requirements “were not a good use of resources” but that people entering the state should continue to monitor symptoms and take action if necessary.

“The appropriate approach is to isolate yourself, book in to a PRC and take that PRC test as soon as possible and stay isolated in the meantime,” he said.

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