Australia will close its borders to non-residents from 9pm Friday, March 20, in the latest escalation of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families will still be allowed to enter Australia, but will remain subject to 14 days of self-isolation. After 9pm on Friday, new visitors to the country will not be accepted.
International departures from Australia are not affected by this ban, which applies only to inbound flights.
The past 24 hours have seen both Qantas and Virgin Australia announce plans to suspend all international flights from the end of March until May-June 2020, and coronavirus-related bans and ‘do not travel’ ordersshut down the global travel market.
Speaking to media, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that this notice period “will enable, over the next 24 hours or so, for people to make other arrangements if they were intending to come to Australia,” or to arrive before the deadline.
“We won’t have, in the vast majority of cases, people finding themselves on planes headed here unless they were going along a rather protracted route, and that means they’ll be able to make other arrangements.”
Morrison outlined that this decision was made because “around 80% of the (coronavirus) cases we have in Australia are either the result of someone who contracted the virus overseas, or someone who has had direct contact with someone who has returned from overseas.”
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