Airlines have threatened to divert flights to Sydney rather than come to Melbourne, due to a difference in COVID-19 testing rules.

One airline has already decided to do this as the Victorian Government announced that all international airline staff will now have to quarantine on arrival and get tested.

“Airline crews and technicians employed by international carriers who transit through Melbourne are now required by law to enter mandatory quarantine,” a Victorian government spokeswoman said. “We’ve taken this approach as an additional precaution to help reduce the risk of airline staff inadvertently bringing the virus back to Australia.

International crews will be tested on arrival and then made to stay in their room until their next flight, provided they return a negative result.

If they return a positive result, they will need to isolate in the hotel until they return a negative result.

“These measures are consistent with practices already in place in other jurisdictions, including in New South Wales and Queensland,’’ the Victorian Government said.

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