13 September, Sydney – NATA has today urged the Federal Government, aviation companies and international travel agencies to provide Australian travellers assurance and confidence by adopting a globally recognised approach in the use of accredited COVID-19 testing procedures.
NATA Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer Evans, said: “At some point soon, potentially in a few weeks, our borders will open and Australians will travel again. But there is a strong likelihood that travel in the future will need to include some form of testing for COVID-19, whether for departing or arriving passengers.
“Therefore, Australians should have the confidence that our testing procedures for COVID-19, no matter what they are, conform to a globally recognised standard.
“NATA’s view is that laboratories performing COVID-19 tests should not only be accredited, but also be recognised under the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) framework.
“This provides assurance for consumers that laboratories from different economies operate to the same international standard and enables global acceptance of COVID-19 test results.”
NATA is a signatory to the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) which has been signed by 130 accreditation bodies from more than 105 countries.
“In Australia NATA has already accredited more than 160 facilities for COVID-19 tests, mainly for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests but now also for Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT),” Ms Evans said.
“Specifying accreditation for COVID-19 testing that is being conducted, is a vital way for regulators to ensure the reliability of tests and help reduce the impact on health, trade and the Australian economy.
“Consumers should also have confidence that the competence of the testing provider is internationally recognised, and that the test results can be accepted everywhere.”
What is the ILAC MRA?
The ILAC MRA is an agreement signed by the signatory accreditation bodies, including NATA, to recognise the equivalence of the accreditation schemes operated within the scope of their signatory status. It provides assurance that bodies from different economies operate to the same international standard.