The federal health minister Greg Hunt is being called to impose Covid-19 testing standards for the struggling travel industry before the resumption of interstate and international flights.
The National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) began a public awareness campaign on Monday, asking the Commonwealth, airlines, and travel agencies to avoid rogue laboratories.
Jennifer Evans, the CEO, said it was critical that all test results be reliable and accurate, meaning ensuring that qualified businesses carried them out.
She told NCA Newswire, “Our concern is that if travel opens up, there is a good chance there will be more players in the marketplace.”
Ms Evans said that there is a chance any laboratory with the ability to set up and conduct this type of testing could do so. It was up to the government to mandate the use of accredited companies only when it came to Covid-19.
She stated that they don’t know where this will lead if the Department of Health doesn’t take this next step.
“This isn’t a fantasy; in the UK, leaving passengers must undergo testing at an accredited laboratory, and we’re simply requesting the same requirements.”
Ms Evans added that the mandate would ensure that Australian tourists were able to enter other nations.
NATA had met with some airlines and the government to present their plan, hoping that something would be implemented before foreign travel resumed in late 2021.
Laboratories providing Covid-19 tests, in NATA’s opinion, should not only be accredited but also recognised within the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) framework.
NATA is Australia’s solely internationally recognised peak laboratory accreditation body, ensuring testing results can be relied on and trusted.