Authorities in the state of New South Wales announced that its border with the state of Victoria will reopen from Sunday, November 22, following an easing of certain coronavirus (COVID-19)-related restrictions in Victoria state. The border was previously closed in July following a surge in cases in Melbourne, which has now reported no new infections since the beginning of November. The restriction regarding face masks in Victoria was also eased, with the premier stating that no mask need be worn outdoors as long as physical distancing can be maintained.
The ordered six-day lockdown in South Australia was also lifted three days early on Saturday, November 21, after recording only three new cases the previous day. Officials state that the lockdown order had been based on misinformation told by a man with COVID-19 about his link to a pizza shop. However, face masks remain mandatory for all residents leaving their homes.
Social distancing and hygiene measures remain in place throughout Australia as do restrictions on public gatherings.
As of November 22, there have been 27,821 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia with 907 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
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).
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on the skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover the mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.