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COVID-19 testing clinics swamped amid growing frustration over travel rules


The surge of people visiting COVID-19 testing clinics across Australia is continuing today, amid calls for some states to change the requirements for tourism testing.

People across multiple states eager to get tested before Christmas began queueing at testing sites before dawn.

In Melbourne, coronavirus testing at the Albert Park clinic in the city centre has already been suspended this morning.

People queuing outside the COVID testing site on Alfred Street in North Melbourne.
People queuing outside the COVID testing site on Alfred Street in North Melbourne. (Scott McNaughton / The Age)
Testing queues at Maroubra this morning are very long as people try to get results before travelling.
Testing queues at Maroubra this morning are very long as people try to get results before travelling. (9News)

The facility reached capacity before opening for a third day in a row. People are facing a wait time of three hours for results.

Today a security guard is on duty at the site after police were yesterday called to the clinic over people arriving illegally.

There is a similar story in Sydney where long queues began before dawn as people tried to beat the testing rush.

In Bondi, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs by 10am cars were snaked along Campbell Parade and people are facing hours in their cars.

In Maroubra, lines were also long.

In Bondi in Sydney's east, cars snaked along the coast.
In Bondi in Sydney’s east, cars snaked along the coast. (9News)
Dozens of people lining up to get a COVID-19 test in Redfern, Sydney.
Dozens of people lining up to get a COVID-19 test in Redfern, Sydney. (Anna Kucera)

In North Ryde a single file of a cars is backed up for hundreds of metres along Epping Road, while in some of the western suburbs testing queues are shorter.

At one clinic in Castle Hill, in the north-west, there were about 100 cars queueing before opening.

Among the people in Sydney who had received a negative test was a delighted grandfather who now planned to visit his grandchildren in Queensland after he recovered from cancer.

Dom waited with his wife this morning for their tests.

They have not seen their grandchildren for two years.

NSW grandfather Dom is looking forward to seeing his grandchildren in Queensland after he recovered from cancer. (Nine)

“It’s great news,” he told 9News.

He said the wait had been long but was worth it.

The couple said they were looking forward to giving their grandchildren “plenty of hugs” over Christmas.

And the New South Wales Government is now pleading with leaders in other states to change the rules for tourism testing.

NSW authorities say the reason the lines are so long is that people are scrambling to secure a negative test before they’re allowed into other states for their Christmas visit.

They believe that is the reason that people in NSW are waiting so long for their results.

People queuing outside the COVID testing site on Bourke Street in Melbourne.
People queuing outside the COVID testing site on Bourke Street in Melbourne. (Scott McNaughton / The Age)
Cars at the pop up Covid Testing Centre at Frenchs Forest Aquatic Centre Drive in Sydney..
Cars at the pop up COVID-19 testing centre at Frenchs Forest Aquatic Centre Drive in Sydney. (Renee Nowytarger)

In South Australia, there are long delays at the 24-hour testing clinic at Victoria Park in Adelaide.

People are facing a wait of five hours or more for test results.

Meanwhile, the Queensland Government is today looking at changing the requirement for travellers to have a negative coronavirus test 72 hours before they arrive in the state.

Instead Queensland Health is considering allowing people to isolate either at home or at their accommodation and await that test result or even replace that PCR test with a rapid antigen test available at a pharmacy or a supermarket.



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