MDTI-TA-2020-047 (24 March 2020)
Strict preventive restrictions have been implemented to Australia and New Zealand to lessen the spread of Covid-19. Please refer to below for further information.
Affected passengers may email your Marsman Travel Consultant for clarification and assistance. For urgent support, you may reach us through the following contact numbers: +63918 979 0937 (Smart) | +63917 896 4891 (Globe).
Marsman Drysdale Travel Inc.
Queensland officials will close its borders from March 25 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In effect, all arriving travelers including mainland Australian and Tasmanian residents will undergo self-quarantine for two weeks. Only essential personnel, such as medical workers, shipping and airline crews, and defense personnel, are exempt from the requirement. Staff will conduct screenings for arriving passengers and require arrival cards before entry into the impacted states. Strict implementation of the security measures will be observed.
Non essential social venues such as cafes, casinos, clubs, gymnasiums, houses of worship, pubs, restaurants, and sports venues have been closed as of 1200 March 23 to April 23. Retail shops, offices and hotels will remain open. Officials have recommended the cancellation of nonessential domestic travel; however, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that work-related essential travel and travel on compassionate grounds may continue. The federal government continues to ban nonessential gatherings of more than 100 people indoors and 500 people outdoors. Exceptions are in place for public transport, schools, and medical facilities. Schools will remain open nationwide; however, authorities have said that parents should keep their children at home if they can. Officials in Victoria have moved school holidays forward to March 24, and schools in the Australian Capital Territory will start online learning from March 23.
Several states, including Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, have declared states of emergency to enforce nationwide measures. Officials in New South Wales and Victoria will implement a phased-in lockdown in their states through March 24. All nonessential services will close, except for grocery and convenience stores, pharmacies, and fuel stations. Freight, logistics, and home delivery services are also exempt. Other states could implement similar measures in the coming days.
An entry ban for foreign nationals remains in effect as of March 23. Permanent residents and long-term pass holders, as well as their immediate relatives, are exempt from the restriction. The government will continue to enforce a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for all arrivals into the country, regardless of nationality. It is unclear if authorities will continue to allow select students from mainland China into the country; officials previously were making decisions on a case-by-case basis. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade raised its advisory for citizens to the highest level (“Do Not Travel”) for all outbound travel. Despite the description by officials as a ban, Australians are still allowed to depart the country.
Travel restrictions have significantly impacted international flight operations. Qantas (QF) has canceled its international flights and cut domestic service to 40 percent. Meanwhile, Virgin Australia (VA) has halted all international operations through June 14 and plans to reduce domestic flights by 50 percent. Virgin Australia subsidiary Tigerair Australia (TT) will continue to operate international flights through at least March 29 but will reduce domestic flights; TT leaders could adjust their operational plans in the coming days. Officials also banned cruise ships from docking in Australia through at least April 15.
Today, March 23, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the government raised the alert level for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to Level 3, the second-highest level. Then starting March 25, New Zealand will move to Level 4 – the highest level – and implement associated restrictions through at least April 25, which could extend the measure further. Under Level 4 restrictions, the government will instruct people to stay home as much as possible. All educational institutions will close. All nonessential businesses must close; supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, utilities, and banks are allowed to remain open. Officials will also limit transport operations; only essential workers can use public transport. The alert level also enables the government to ration supplies and take over facilities and prioritize health services. However, official statements do not suggest the government is planning on enacting such measures. Authorities could punish people in violation of the orders as much as NZD 4,000 (USD 2,200) or up to six months in jail. Additional measures or adjustments to existing policies are possible in the coming days and weeks.
As of March 23, New Zealand continues to ban all foreign nationals from entering the country. The measure includes citizens of Pacific nations, who were previously excluded from travel restrictions; however, exceptions will continue for citizens from the region and other foreign nationals for humanitarian reasons. Resident Australian citizens, permanent residents, and resident visa holders with valid travel conditions, as well as their immediate family members, are exempt from entry restrictions. The government is still requiring all arriving international passengers to self-isolate for two weeks.