The government is urging Australians not to travel overseas and has advised that those currently overseas should return immediately to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Prime minister Scott Morrison announced this morning the overseas travel ban for Australians has been upgraded to level four for the entire world.
“That is the first time that has ever happened in Australia’s history,” the prime minister said, according to ABC News.
“The travel advice to every Australian is ‘Do not travel abroad’. Do not go overseas. That is very clear, that instruction.
“For those who are thinking of going overseas in the school holidays, don’t. Don’t go overseas. The biggest risk we have had and the biggest incidents of cases we have had … has been from Australians returning from overseas.”
The department of foreign affairs (DFAT) is also urging Australians who are already overseas and wish to return home to do so as soon as possible.
According to DFAT, these measures are necessary as more countries are closing their borders or introducing travel restrictions making overseas travel more complex and difficult.
“You may not be able to return to Australia when you had planned to,” DFAT said on its Smartraveller website.
“Consider whether you have access to health care and support systems if you get sick while overseas. If you decide to return to Australia, do so as soon as possible. Commercial options may become less available.”
This comes as multiple airlines announce they will reduce capacity by up to 90 per cent, with Virgin Australia suspending all international flights.
All cruise ships which sailed from a foreign port have also been banned from entering Australian ports for 30 days.
Those returning to Australia will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
“Overseas travel has become more complex and unpredictable. Many countries are introducing entry or movement restrictions,” DFAT said.
“These are changing often and quickly. Your travel plans may be disrupted. You may be placed in quarantine or denied entry to some countries, and you may need to self-quarantine on return to Australia.
“Think about what this might mean for your health, and your family, work or study responsibilities.”
This comes as the prime minister also announced a ban on non-essential gatherings of 100 people or more in indoor areas. The cap on outdoor gatherings remains at 500.
Morrison said essential gatherings included an airport, public transportation, which includes public transportation facilities, such as stations, platforms, stops, trains, trams, buses, medical and health service facilities, emergency service facilities, disability or aged care facilities, correctional facilities, youth justice centres or other places of custody, courts or tribunals.
“Parliaments, food market, supermarket, grocery store, retail store, shopping centre that is necessary for the normal business of those premises. Office buildings, factories, construction sites, mining sites, necessary for their normal operation,” he continued.
“Non-essential is everything else. States and territories have the ability to add to those lists as they see fit, based on the advice and we are seeking to coordinate that.”
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