On Sunday, June 28, Victoria state authorities made testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) compulsory for returning travelers following a spike in infections in recent days in the region. Authorities have informed that those who refuse to be tested will have to quarantine for an extra ten days in addition to the 14-day minimum quarantine period.
All Australian citizens and residents returning from abroad are being quarantined in hotels for 14 days at the government's expense. Only Australian citizens, returning permanent residents, and their immediate family members are permitted to enter Australia until further notice.
On June 21, authorities in Victoria state extended the current state of emergency for four weeks until July 19. The previous day it was announced that restrictions limiting the number of visitors to households to five people and outdoor gatherings to ten people would be reimposed as of Monday, June 22. These measures had been relaxed to allow 20 people to gather both in households and outside on June 1.
On Sunday, June 14, authorities in New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria announced plans for further easing of measures implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19. From June 22, businesses were permitted to have up to 50 seated patrons indoors and all sports for children will resume. Indoor sports facilities are permitted to host up to 20 people, with a cap of 10 adults per group.
As of June 28, there have been 7,686 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, with 104 associated fatalities. Further international 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 the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble 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.
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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