The National Cabinet has put a number of additional protection measures into place for both international and domestic flights in order to protect Australians from the COVID-19 virus.
Friday’s emergency national cabinet meeting endorsed pre-flight testing for flight crew and passengers, inbound flight caps, and mandatory masks on all flights, as the country boosts its defenses against the aggressive UK strain of COVID-19.
According to a report by the ABC, 80 percent of Australians currently overseas are in countries that have confirmed cases from the new strain.
While there were considerations of hard closing the border to countries where the new strain is, Health Authorities didn’t recommend the Government go down that path.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “That would be a very significant step, but it would have meant not just one country — it’d mean the whole world,”
The new rules are:
From now, all overseas passengers returning to Australia will be required to have a rapid COVID-19 test before they leave and proof that they tested negative for the virus.
If a passenger tests positive they — and any of their close contacts also planning on flying home — will be banned from boarding a flight back to Australia.
International air crew must also now also 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.
International flight caps
The number of international arrivals allowed into New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia is halving.
- NSW – 1500 travellers a week
- Western Australia – 500 travellers a week
- Queensland – 500 travellers a week
- Victoria – no change (currently 1120 travellers a week)
- South Australia – no change (currently 600 travellers a week)
NT, ACT, and Tassie are working out their arrangements with the Commonwealth on a case-by-case basis.
It is expected that these international passenger caps will be reviewed before 15 February.
Masks required on all flights
It was always recommmednded, but now it’s mandatory.
All international passengers and aircrew must now wear masks on flights and in airports.
The same rules apply for all domestic passengers, excluding children 12 and under or those with medical exemptions.
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