Covid-19 Update: Australian Travel Restrictions Enforced
Countries around the world are taking measures in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Australia is enforcing travel restrictions and temporary regulations to protect its citizens and all foreigners currently on its territory.
The government previously issued a list of nationalities banned from entering Australia. The ban has since been extended to include most foreign nationals. This is a preventative measure and Australian visa and immigration policies are expected to return to normal once the virus is contained.
These temporary limitations now apply to the vast majority of potential visitors. However, travelers are advised to continue checking the news and official announcements for further developments.
Who Is Affected by the Australian Travel Ban?
All travelers are now banned from entering Australia, with a few exceptions.
Initially, Australia had imposed travel restrictions on foreign nationals arriving from the countries that had been affected the most severely by the coronavirus outbreak, including China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea.
It was announced on March 15, 2020 that cruise ships would be prohibited from docking at Australian ports and that passengers would be refused entry to the country.
As of March 20, 2020, the Australian travel ban extends to all non-Australian citizens or official residents.
The only exception that will be made is for direct family members of Australian nationals. All international arrivals must self-isolate themselves for 2 weeks.
Australian citizens who are currently abroad may also return home; however, they will be obligated to quarantine themselves for 14 days.
This is the first time in history that the country has upgraded a travel ban to level 4, i.e. closing its borders and advising its own citizens not to travel.
Can I travel to Australia under the new coronavirus policies?
Extraordinary travel restrictions have been put in place to lower the risk of infection. A complete ban applies to all foreign nationals apart from direct relatives of citizens of Australia.
Even travelers from other countries who hold visas for Australia may not visit the country until the entry restrictions are lifted. This may change as the situation develops so travelers should stay up-to-date with the latest information.
When the Australian border reopens, foreigners who wish to enter Australia should apply for an Australian visa online or at the nearest embassy depending on their specific circumstances. Travelers are advised that they may still be required to go through fever and other health checks at the border.
How to Stay in Australia during Coronavirus
The Federal Government has created a new visa that allows foreigners who are currently in Australia and whose visa is about to expire to remain in the country. The COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa is a temporary authorization that grants the holder permission to stay in Australia if:
- They have 28 days or less left on their visa and no other visa option
- They can assist in fighting the pandemic in several critical sectors such as healthcare, disability and age care, childcare, and agriculture
Applicants must demonstrate that they have the necessary skills to work in the aforementioned critical sectors.
The special permit is also a good option for those who are on a working holiday visa and operate in a relevant field but cannot extend their visa any longer.
Coronavirus in Australia: Information for Foreigners
Since its discovery in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to infect individuals in over 100 countries. The World Health Organization has therefore declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
There have been fewer COVID-19 diagnoses in Australia than in many other countries.
Besides the usual health advice for Australia, experts recommend travelers to:
- Wash their hands frequently with warm water and soap
- Use hand sanitizer when water and soap are not available
- Carry a face mask
- Avoid contact with infected people
- Cover their face with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
Those who feel unwell or seek information on the coronavirus while in Australia should call the hotline 1800 020 080 for advice.