‘Do not travel to mainland China’: new travel restrictions imposed to prevent Coronavirus spread

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In a release on 1 February, the Australian government has imposed strict travel restrictions for people visiting and returning to mainland China. If you are organising business travel for your organisation this could significantly impact your arrangements.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne said the restrictions are based on recommendations from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and are important to protect Australians from the outbreak.

“I want to assure Australians that we are doing everything we can, through these increased actions, to protect Australians and keep them safe from what is an escalating threat,” Senator Payne said.

The statement

Effective immediately, foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents) who are in mainland China from today forward, will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they have left or transited through mainland China.

Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependents only). This exemption will be extended to airline crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment.

This is a temporary measure, which will be reviewed in 14 days.

Any foreign nationals who do arrive in Australia notwithstanding the prohibition, and who choose not to immediately return to their port of origin, will be subject to mandatory quarantine.

We will also be requiring Australian citizens, permanent residents and their families who do enter Australia and who have been in mainland China to self-isolate for 14 days from the time they left mainland China.

Further, enhanced screening arrangements will be effected at ports of entry.  The Government will make 500,000 masks available for airport and port staff and arriving passengers and handheld thermometers will be made available at impacted ports.

We will also raise the travel advice to Australians for all of mainland China to Level Four: “Do not travel.”

Read the full statement

The Department of Health is recommending anyone with questions regarding the virus call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.