Important Travel Updates and Closing of Borders

  • Important Travel Updates and Closing of Borders

    Australia will close its borders to non-residents from 9pm Friday, March 20, in the latest escalation of the global coronavirus pandemic.

    Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families will still be allowed to enter Australia, but will remain subject to 14 days of self-isolation. After 9pm on Friday, new visitors to the country will not be accepted.

    International departures from Australia are not affected by this ban, which applies only to inbound flights.

    The past 24 hours have seen both Qantas and Virgin Australia announce plans to suspend all international flights from the end of March until May-June 2020, and coronavirus-related bans and ‘do not travel’ ordersshut down the global travel market.

    Speaking to media, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that this notice period “will enable, over the next 24 hours or so, for people to make other arrangements if they were intending to come to Australia,” or to arrive before the deadline.

    “We won’t have, in the vast majority of cases, people finding themselves on planes headed here unless they were going along a rather protracted route, and that means they’ll be able to make other arrangements.”

    Morrison outlined that this decision was made because “around 80% of the (coronavirus) cases we have in Australia are either the result of someone who contracted the virus overseas, or someone who has had direct contact with someone who has returned from overseas.”

    Australians overseas should return home now, says DFAT

    The Australian Government is working with Qantas to ensure appropriate international flights are maintained for the time being that would assist Australians in returning to Australia.

    “It is our intention to maintain flights so that (Australians) can come home as soon as possible,” adds the Prime Minister.

    Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has this week been advising those Australians still overseas and wanting to return home to do so as soon as possible, with every country in the world now zoned as ‘do not travel’ by Smartraveller.

    New Zealand also shutters its borders

    New Zealand will also close its borders from midnight tonight, New Zealand time, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has advised, with non-residents and non-New Zealand citizens unable to enter the country.

    This will replace New Zealand’s previous policy of allowing international visitors, but requiring them to remain in 14 days of self-isolation.

    International visitors who arrive before the deadline will still need to self-isolate, as will all returning New Zealand citizens and residents, even after the border closes to visitors.

    Tasmania adopts new interstate travel restrictions

    All domestic passengers travelling from Mainland Australia into Tasmania after 11:59pm on Friday March 20 will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, even if they haven’t been overseas.

    Only “essential” travellers will be exempt from isolation, such as those working in the health industry or facilitating trade.

    “We know that for some it will create disruption, but our aim is to ensure that we protect the health, wellbeing and safety of Tasmanians,” said Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein.

    “We would ask people to work with us as we implement these measures and as they are managed over coming weeks.”

    All travellers to Tasmania will be required to complete a ‘Tasmanian arrivals card’, declaring their travel history, flight information, and where they plan to remain isolated in Tasmania.

    This includes visitors to the state, as well as residents returning home from Mainland Australia.

    Passengers travelling from Tasmania to other Australian states, who were not already under self-isolation, are not required to isolate themselves upon arrival in the Mainland.

    This restriction only applies to people arriving into Tasmania.

    Source: Executive Traveller

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