COVID-19 Testing Criteria

Holidaymakers must avoid testing queues

NSW Health is advising people who attend NSW COVID-19 testing locations seeking results to travel interstate that they are unlikely to receive their results within 72 hours.

The delay means NSW travellers who intend to holiday in Queensland will not get their result before its January 1 changes to PCR swab requirements come into effect.

Holidaymakers are now urged to avoid testing queues to help ease pressure on laboratory testing.

As at 27 December 2021, pathology services in NSW had processed more than 24 million tests but like other states, "tourism testing" has stretched testing capabilities.

To reduce the strain on our staff and services and better protect the NSW community, in line with NSW Health we are taking further steps to limit testing that is not clinically urgent.

Prioritisation will be given to people getting a PCR test (nose and throat swab) who:

  • have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive rapid antigen test
  • are a household contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive case 

With such high cases of the Omicron variant in circulation in Australia, as an added precaution, people should consider taking a rapid antigen test before going out, particularly if socialising in groups of people or anywhere it may be difficult to physically distance. Information on how to use rapid antigen tests is available on the NSW Government website.

For more information see