As of midday today Australian citizens have been banned from travelling overseas in an extreme and unprecedented measure to slow the spread of COVID-19.
A small number of exceptions will be made for aid workers or those needing to travel on compassionate grounds.
Australian citizens who are permanent residents overseas will also be exempt from the ban.
From 25 March there is a ban on Australians travelling overseas. This is on top of our Smartraveller advice to not travel overseas at this time.
— Smartraveller (@Smartraveller) March 24, 2020
The Australian Border Force will ultimately determine on a case by case basis who is eligible to leave the country.
The announcement, which came during an address to the nation last night from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, follows Smart Traveller’s worldwide ‘do not travel’ warning.
“No-one should be getting on a plane and going overseas,” Scott Morrison said last night, adding that he had already been making the point for some time.
“The number of people who are leaving Australia now is very, very low,” he commented.
“But it strikes me on those numbers there are people defying that advice and looking to go overseas on leisure travel. They can’t do that because when they come home, they put Australians at risk.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
There will also be tighter regulations around Australia’s mandatory 14-day self-isolation quarantine for people arriving back in Australia from overseas.
Random checks are being introduced and fines of up to $11,000 or six months’ prison will be handed down to those that deliberately do not comply.
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