Australia to ban foreign travelers from South Korea, begin health screenings for passengers from Italy as of March 5 due to COVID-19.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 05 Mar 2020 06:43 GMT and is scheduled to expire 23 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Longer immigration wait times, enhanced health screenings; possible flight and business disruptions, quarantine measures

Summary
Authorities have expanded travel restrictions to include passengers from South Korea starting the evening of March 5 to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Officials also extended an entry ban for passengers who traveled or transited mainland China and Iran through at least March 14. Under the travel restriction, officials are preventing foreign nationals who have visited the affected countries within 14 days of arrival from entering the country. Permanent residents, long-term pass holders, and diplomats, as well as their immediate relatives, are exempt from the restriction. However, these individuals must self-quarantine for 14 days after their arrival. Officials are also reviewing entry requests for students from mainland China on a case-by-case basis. Authorities continue to review the measures regularly, and additional restrictions or adjustments to the policy are possible in the coming weeks.

Officials will also increase health screenings for passengers from Italy starting March 5. All passengers will undergo questioning at check-in counters at their point of origin; airlines will prevent symptomatic travelers from flying. Officials have suspended SmartGate entry for all travelers from Italy, and incoming passengers will face questioning and health screenings, including temperature checks, before entering the country.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) also upgraded its travel advisory for South Korea to level 3 (reconsider travel) and advised citizens not to travel to Daegu as of March 5. DFAT is maintaining level 4 warnings (do not travel) for mainland China and Iran.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Allow considerable extra time to clear customs and immigration if arriving from Italy due to enhanced health screenings. Rebook flights to avoid transiting mainland China, Iran, and South Korea. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Department of Home Affairs: www.homeaffairs.gov.au

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