Additional measures to protect Australians from COVID-19 on domestic and international flights have been announced by National Cabinet.
International passenger caps in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia will be temporarily halved from no later than Friday to manage the flow of returning Aussies and other travellers who have been potentially exposed to the new and more contagious strains of coronavirus that have originated in the UK and South Africa.
Current international passenger caps in Victoria and South Australia and arrangements in the Northern Territory are considered “manageable” and will remain in place, according to a statement issued by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Arrangements on international passenger caps will be reviewed by National Cabinet in early February.
National Cabinet also adopted a number of recommendations from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee in relation to in-flight and in-airport measures.
For international travel, returning Australians and other travellers to Australia must return a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure. Exemptions will only be applied in extenuating circumstances, such as seasonal workers, where there is limited access to testing.
International air crew must take a COVID-19 test every seven days or on arrival in Australia, continue to quarantine in dedicated quarantine facilities between international flights or for 14 days, and not reposition for an outgoing international flight unless they do so on a crew-only flight.
All international passengers and air crew must wear masks on flights and in airports. The same applies for domestic passengers, excluding children 12 and under or those with particular exemptions.
“These measures will also be applied to government-facilitated commercial flights, which already have in place strong mitigating measures for passengers and facilities,” Morrison said in a statement.
The new measures come as Victoria’s health authorities revealed that 11 COVID-19 cases had been recorded from testing 1,600 international airline crew members while they were in transit in the state, according to The Age.
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