Passengers landing in Australia will now be transferred from arrivals to a hotel to complete their 14-day isolation period – with the Defence Force checking people comply with the measures.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement because 85 per cent of cases of coronavirus are directly or indirectly acquired from overseas.
The plan is for citizens to stay in accommodation in the city where they arrive, with Victoria already indicated they have 5,000 rooms ready. Under the previous rules, people went back to their homes and signed a declaration committing to not leaving for two weeks.
Prime Minister Morrison said, “We believe these important actions are the most important we can take right now because of what you’ve done, Australia.”
The exact new rules were released to the media shortly after the prime minister spoke. They read:
- Travellers will be transported directly to designated facilities after appropriate immigration, customs and enhanced health checks.
- Designated facilities will be determined by the relevant state or territory government and will ordinarily be in the city of entry where the traveller has cleared immigration, but facilities in other areas may be used if required.
- These requirements will be implemented under state and territory legislation and will be enforced by state and territory governments, with the support of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Australian Border Force (ABF) where necessary.
- The Commonwealth will provide support through the ABF and ADF for these arrangements across Australia, and that states and territories would meet the costs and determine any contributions required for travellers arriving within their jurisdictions.
- Air and maritime crews will be required to continue to undertake the existing precautions they are following where they self-isolate in their accommodation if they enter Australia until their next work voyage.
- The ADF will begin assisting state and territory governments to undertake quarantine compliance checks of those who are required to be in mandatory isolation after returning from overseas.
- ADF personnel will bolster local police efforts in visiting the homes and residences of Australians who are in mandatory isolation as directed by state and territory governments and will report to the local police whether the identified individual was at the residence.
The Prime Minister also congratulated the public on adhering to the new strict social distancing rules, after previously scolding the country after pictures emerged of revellers gathering on Bondi beach.
PM Morrison said, “We believe these important actions are the most important we can take right now because of what you’ve done, Australia.
“By you getting on board with the changes you have needed to make, this means we can target our efforts even more into these areas, where we believe the most critical concern is right now.
“Thank you, keep doing it, you’re saving lives and you’re saving livelihoods.”