Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in a televised media conference on Sunday, March 15, that all foreign nationals arriving in Australia after 00:00 (local time) on Monday, March 16, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). He also announced a ban on all cruise ships from foreign ports docking in Australian ports for 30 days from Monday.
Entry bans remain in place as of Saturday, March 14, for all foreign nationals traveling from or through China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy in the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to Australia. Australian citizens and permanent residents returning from the aforementioned countries will be required to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine.
Prime Minister Morrison announced on Friday, March 13, that all non-essential public gatherings of more than 500 people are banned from March 16, including Anzac Day events. The directive does not include public transport, educational institutes, businesses, commercial centers, or hospitals. Some businesses are enforcing work-from-home policies.
Qantas Airways has reduced and canceled a number of its international flight routes between late-March and September to meet changing demand. More detailed information can be found on the airline's website here.
As of 10:30 (local time) on March 15, the Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed 249 cases of COVID-19 nationwide and three associated fatalities. With 111 confirmed cases, New South Wales state has the highest number of recorded cases as of March 15. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
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