Hundreds of travellers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau arrived in Australia on Thursday morning as new Covid rules come into place.
Due to a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in China and lack of available information about the country’s epidemiology, those wanting to enter Australia need to have proof of a negative Covid-19 test from within the previous 48 hours.
It comes as China eases its own internal Covid-19 restrictions.
Health Minister Mark Butler made the announcement earlier in the week, later revealed to be against the advice of the chief medical officer.
With the rules now in place, Mr Butler defended them once again on Thursday, arguing most “significant destinations” including north America and all of Europe had implemented similar restrictions.
India, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia have also put in place pre departure testing requirements for travellers.
“We warmly welcome the resumption of travel from China … And I’m confident that this modest, sensible method taken out of an abundance of caution is going to prove no hindrance, no barrier to that resumption of travel at all,” Mr Butler said.
“In the past 24 hours the World Health Organisation has reiterated their view that these measures are, to use their words again, understandable in light of the lack of comprehensive information about the situation in China.
“It’s really important that the rest of the world have as much information as we possibly can get about this fast developing Covid wave in China.”
Mr Butler said he was pleased to see Beijing had been communicating with the WHO, particularly surrounding the sharing of genomic sequencing.
He said his department was contacting their counterparts in China to “stress our view that it would be valuable for information to be shared more comprehensively” by China with the rest of the world.
After about 13 hours of the new rules in place, Mr Butler said airports across the country had reported “a high degree” of compliance from relevant arrivals.
“As of right now, there has been no issue with compliance,” he said.