Government adds South Korea to coronavirus travel ban

written by Adam Thorn | March 5, 2020

Australia’s federal government has extended its coronavirus travel ban to include South Korea and added extra restrictions for those arriving from Italy.

The Prime Minister also announced the existing ban on nationals travelling from China and Iran has also been extended for a week.

Scott Morrison told reporters, “Every Australian, all of our citizens, me as the Prime Minister, Minister for Health, Chief Medical Officer, mums, dads, schoolteachers, nurses, workers, boys and girls, we all have a role to play in containing and managing the spread of the coronavirus and ensuring that Australia is best prepared and best able to deal with this global virus.

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“We all have responsibilities to play to support each other, help each other and inform each other, assist each other, as we all get through what will be a difficult time in the months ahead.”

The news means foreign nationals who visited mainland China, Iran and South Korea will not be allowed into Australia for 14 days from the time they left

An official statement released on Thursday defended extending the ban to South Korea, saying additional screening measures wouldn’t be sufficient due to the “scale of travel to Australia” and “the volume of reported COVID-19 cases”.

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It added that the measures are part of the government’s “ongoing strategy of containment”.

As of 5 March 2020, restrictions are as follows:

  • Foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents of Australia) who are in the Republic of Korea on or after today will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they have left or transited through the Republic of Korea;
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter Australia, as will their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependants only). They will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the day they left the Republic of Korea.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will raise the level of the travel advisory for the Republic of Korea to ‘reconsider your need to travel’ (level 3 of 4) up from ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ (level 2).
  • The level of the travel advice will also be raised to ‘do not travel’ to Daegu (level 4 of 4) because of the significant outbreak of COVID-19 there. People in the Republic of Korea should monitor their health closely and follow the advice of local authorities.

In an effort to maintain diplomatic relations, the announcement added, “We are grateful to the government of the Republic of Korea for the transparent way it has dealt with this outbreak.

“It should be commended for its strong efforts in combating COVID-19, including with its extensive testing regime.”

Meanwhile, travellers from Italy would face “advanced screening measures”, which include having their temperatures checked at the airport.

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