On Thursday Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australia will banning the majority non-residents from entering the country.
The new safety measures will come into effect at 9pm on Friday March 20 and will apply to almost all non-citizens and non-residents. However, there will be some exceptions for close family members of Australians.
Prime Minister Morrison stated that the reason for the new precautions is because 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Australia have allegedly arisen due to contracting the virus overseas or coming into contact with someone who has been overseas.
“The overwhelming proportion of cases in Australia have been imported,” said the Prime Minister during a press conference on Thursday.
“We believe it is essential to take that further step to ensure we no longer will be allowing anyone unless they’re a citizen, or a resident or a direct family member.”
After announcing a 90 per cent international flight reduction earlier this week due to coronavirus, Qantas has now decided to cancel all flights leaving the country from the end of March. This will also include Jetstar flights.Read more
Morrison also confirmed he has been in close talks with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to ensure travel policies between the two countries are aligned. As such, Australian and New Zealand border closures won’t apply to citizens living in each country.
Australians still overseas will still be able to return home once the ban is in place. However, they will still be subject to the 14-day mandatory isolation that was put in place earlier this week.
Earlier on Thursday Qantas announced the cancellation of all of its regular international flights, but the airline will be working with the government to continue flying routes from “key places” to help bring Australians home.
While specific routes weren’t listed, according to the Prime Minister this endeavour may prove more “challenging” for Australians who are currently in more “remote” parts of the world.
Virgin Australia also announced the grounding of all international flights on Wednesday.