“Do not travel overseas at this time. If you wish to return home, do so as soon as possible”, that is the official and unprecedented advice to travellers from the Australian Government in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Australian Smartraveller website says regardless of your destination, age or health, their advice is do not travel overseas at this time.
“As more countries close their borders or introduce travel restrictions, overseas travel is becoming more complex and difficult,” Smartraveller explained.
“You may not be able to return to Australia when you had planned to”.
“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”.
Evidence of this can already be seen in Virgin Australia’s announcement this morning that it would be grounding its international fleet from March 30 to June 14.
Australian flag carrier Qantas also announced yesterday that it would be cutting 90% of its international capacity.
Smartraveller said Australians overseas who cannot, or do not want to, return to Australia should follow the advice of local authorities.
“Take care to minimise your risk of exposure to coronavirus including by self-isolating”.
“If you choose to stay, note our ability to provide consular assistance in some places may be limited due to restrictions on movement and other services”.
If you decide to return to Australia, you will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to all travellers, including Australian citizens.
All cruise ships which have sailed from a foreign port have been banned from entering Australian ports for 30 days.
All in all, Smartraveller says overseas travel has become more complex and unpredictable. Many countries are introducing entry or movement restrictions. These are changing often and quickly.
It’s more really tough news for agents, we know. We can only begin to imagine how busy agents are (still) dealing with all of this.
Kudos to all of you for your amazing work in sorting out cancellations and postponed trips and remember, we stand with you #togetherintravel.
For urgent consular assistance contact +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas 1300 555 135 from within Australia. For non-urgent email [email protected]
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