Continuing travel ban to protect Australians from the coronavirus

Media release
20 Feb 2020
Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Health

The protection and safety of Australians is our highest priority.

The National Security Committee of Cabinet has today decided that the continuing coronavirus infections in mainland China make it necessary to continue the travel restrictions on foreign nationals entering Australia for a further week to 29 February.

This decision, as with all decisions taken by the Government with respect to the coronavirus outbreak, has been guided by the expert medical advice of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, made up of the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer and chief medical officers from each state and territory.

The committee has advised that there are signs the spread of the coronavirus in Chinese provinces outside Hubei province is slowing. We will need to watch closely whether this positive trend continues as people return to work after the holidays.

Unfortunately, the number of infections and deaths in Hubei province itself continues to grow.

The AHPPC has also advised that the number of cases in Australia remains at 15, indicating the Government’s precautionary approach to preventing the spread of coronavirus on our shores continue to be successful.

The continuation of the travel restrictions means that for a further week, foreign nationals – excluding permanent residents – who have been in mainland China will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they left mainland China.

As before, Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians and dependants only).

We continue to require Australian citizens, permanent residents and their families who have been in mainland China from 1 February 2020, and who return Australia, to self-isolate for 14 days from the time they left mainland China.

People who have been in contact with someone confirmed to have coronavirus must also self-isolate for 14 days from the time they were in contact with that person.

We will continue to consider developments in China and advice from the AHPPC as they meet and review health and travel arrangements on an ongoing basis.

Our government continues to work closely with state and territory authorities as well as our international partners to ensure we keep Australians safe.