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28 Feb 2020 | 07:03 AM UTC

Australia: Entry restrictions for travelers from China extended due to COVID-19 February 27 /update 6

Authorities announce extension to entry restrictions for travelers from China due to COVID-19 outbreak on February 27; follow authority directives

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AUS

Event

Australian authorities announced on Thursday, February 27, that it would extend travel restrictions on Chinese nationals entering the country amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. All travelers from or transiting through China will therefore continue to be prohibited entry into Australia, with the exception of returning Australian nationals. The policy will be reviewed again before Friday, March 6. This restriction was initially implemented on Saturday, February 1.

As of Friday, February 28, there are 23 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 11 of which have recovered.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak is a "very grave threat."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran, who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.