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COVID-19: Bans update – Australia & USA

COVID-19: Bans update – Australia & USA

Introduction

The action on coronavirus is a swift travelling river of information, that’s hard to keep up with.

I have refrained from continual updating, on the grounds that news sites like BBC, CNN, Australian ABC.net.au and the Guardian, are doing a fine job of providing up to the minute live updates.

However, I thought it might be good to summerise a few updates for you, my readers.

These details were correct as at 2 pm (AEST) Sunday 15 March 2020.

Byron Bay – the most easterly point of Australia

Australia

Travel

The Australian Government in the light of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) declaration of a COVID-19 pandemic, is advising all Australians to reconsider the need for overseas travel. This is a level 3 warning and is one step below level 4 which is Do Not Travel.

Our government currently has bans on those arriving from China, Iran, Italy and Korea. This does not include Australian citizens and permanent residents and immediate family members. They will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the day they left one of the named countries. For complete details, go to the HomeAffairs.gov.au website.

Social Distancing

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) issued the following guidelines on Social Distancing, that is reducing the amount of human to human contact on Friday 13 March. It recommends that as from Monday 16 March, people, and especially those over 60 should be:

  • limiting non-essential organised gatherings to fewer than 500 people
  • limiting non-essential meetings or conferences of critical workforce eg healthcare professionals and emergency services
  • encouraging all Australians to exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures
  • initiating measures to protect vulnerable populations, such as reducing visitors to all residential care facilities and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Testing

On testing, the AHPPC is reacting to a global shortage of some of the reagents used by pathologists to diagnose COVID-19 and will be recommending a more targetted testing regime. The current epidemiological and clinical criteria for testing from the Australian Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy are:

Epidemiological criteria

  • international travel in the 14 days before illness onset, or
  • close or casual contact in the 14 days before illness onset with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (this needs to be interpreted sensibly; we do not have sufficient testing kits to test everyone who attends the same large concert as a person with COVID-19).

Clinical criteria

  • fever, or
  • acute respiratory infection (eg shortness of breath, cough, sore throat) with or without fever.
President Trump just tested negative for COVID-19. No IQ test was given.

United States of America

For general information on the COVID-19 Travel restrictions, head over to the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. The USA also has similar advice to the Australian Level 3 warning, which is for US citizens to reconsider travel abroad.

In addition, the President has issued a series of proclamations which:

  • Bar the entry of most foreign national who in the last 14 days have travelled in China, Iran, Europe (Schengen countries) plus (as of 14 March) from the United Kingdom and Ireland
  • American citizens or permanent residents returning from any of these countries will be directed to select airports for enhanced screening procedures

2PAXfly Takeout

These restrictions are medically well supported, and arguably should be more far-reaching.

I implore readers to get your information from primary sources, like the Australian Government’s Department of Health, or the Smartraveller.gov.au website.

If you are American or need to know the information about travel too and from the USA, then go to the Department of State website, or the Centres of Disease Contol & Prevention website. DO NOT USE Facebook or other social media as your authoritative source.

I have a points trip booked to Bali in May. Although I would love to still go, I think I should reconsider my need to travel.

What is your experience so far with travel during this era of COVID-19?

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