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Coronavirus and Bushfires Update

19 February 2020

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-2019) – AUSTRALIA

Australia’s temporary coronavirus border restrictions to be reviewed this week
As you will no doubt have seen, the Prime Minister announced last Thursday that temporary border restrictions introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus would be extended for another 7 days. The restrictions are due to be reviewed on 21 February 2020.

The following arrangements remain in place:
• Australia will deny entry to anyone who has left or transited through mainland China in the last 14 days, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents, and immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents including spouses, minor dependants and legal guardians.
• Australian citizens who have left or transited through mainland China in the last 14 days must isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of leaving mainland China.
• People who have had close contact with a proven case of novel coronavirus must isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of last contact.

Border restrictions extended to passengers on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship
Australia’s current coronavirus border restrictions have been extended to passengers on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship which has been quarantined in Japan. Australians on the ship have been offered a voluntary assisted departure flight today. Returning Australians who elect to take the flight will be required to undertake a further 14 day quarantine period at the Howard Springs facility in Darwin. Any other travellers who disembark the Diamond Princess will need to adhere to a 14 day quarantine period prior to travelling to, or transiting Australia.

The following advice is for travellers not on the charter flight:
• If you have disembarked the Diamond Princess you will need to complete a 14 day quarantine period before travelling to Australia.
• If you arrive in Australia and you have not completed the 14 day quarantine requirement since disembarking the Diamond Princess you will be subject to health screening on entry.
• You may be subject to a Human Biosecurity Control Order under the Biosecurity Act 2015 which can include conditions restricting your movement or requiring your isolation.
• Travellers should ensure they complete the 14 day quarantine period to protect the health and wellbeing of Australians, other passengers and airline crew.

More information: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus

Updated government fact sheets for hotel management and staff and hotel guests
See the latest health advice and details on what actions to take (and download and distribute) here.

CORONAVIRUS - GLOBAL

The vast majority of confirmed cases of coronavirus are still in China
Over 73,000 cases of the coronavirus (now referred to as ‘COVID-19’) have been confirmed globally. The majority of these (more than 72,000) are in China. Similarly, while there have been 1,875 deaths reported globally, only five of these have occurred outside China (in Taiwan, France, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines). Over 13,000 patients have recovered, including 8 of the 15 Australians confirmed to have the virus.

WHO has published key considerations for the repatriation and quarantine of travellers in relation to COVID-19
The document, published on 12 February includes measures to adopt pre-embarkation, on-board aircraft and upon arrival at the point of entry as well guidance for health care workers and other support staff. More information can be found here.

 

 

 

12 February 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Global  

Global death toll from coronavirus surpasses SARS deaths

There are now over 44,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across 25 countries. While the death toll now stands at over 1000 people (exceeding the 774 deaths from the SARS epidemic in 2003), almost 5000 people have recovered from the virus. The number of countries reporting confirmed cases of the virus outside of China remains at 25. For more information visit this heat map.

 

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) adopts further screening measures

On 7 February, CLIA ocean-going member cruise lines agreed to adopt further enhanced screening measures intended to address the industry’s exposure to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. As follows:

  • CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before embarkation. 
  • CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days before embarkation, have had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having Coronavirus, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to Novel Coronavirus.  
  • CLIA Members are to conduct preboarding screening necessary to effect these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected coronavirus.

Still no WHO recommendation to restrict international travel

The WHO continues to advise against any restrictions on international travel or trade.

China

 

More than 44,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in China

The death toll from the virus in mainland China has jumped to over 1000. The infection rate is reported at 2% of cases.

Australia

 

No change to number of confirmed cases in Australia

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Australia remains at 15: five cases in Queensland, two in South Australia, four in Victoria and four in New South Wales. An additional 11 Australians on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama have tested positive to the virus and two more are under investigation.

 

Australian coronavirus travel restrictions to be reviewed by 15 February

The Government has committed to a review of the restrictions by 15 February 2020.

BUSHFIRES

$10m grants program launched to assist bushfire affected regions

On 11 February the Government announced the Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants program (RTBR), a $10 million program drawn from the National Bushfire Recovery Fund.  The program forms part of the Federal Government’s $76 million tourism recovery package to help to protect jobs, small businesses and local economies by helping get tourists travelling to bushfire affected regions. It will have two funding streams which will support events, concerts, festivals and visitor attractions in fire affected regions to assist with recovery efforts and encourage international and domestic visitors to come back to the regions. The second stream will be targeted at the worst affected tourism regions. Austrade will administer the program, which has been developed in consultation with the National Bushfire Recovery Agency. To ensure communities can get access to funds quickly, the first stage of the grants program will focus on grants of up to $30,000, and events up to April 2020 with a streamlined application and assessment process facilitating decisions. Applications will be accepted from Monday 17 February 2020. For further information visit: https://www.austrade.gov.au/Australian/Tourism/Tourism-and-business/Grants/regional-tourism-bushfire-recovery-grants

Tourism Australia collaborating with states and territories on recovery campaigns

We are currently finalising agreements that will see the Federal Government provide state and territory tourism organisations with a significant funding boost to support their marketing efforts to encourage Australians to holiday at home and support the bushfire and coronavirus recovery. TA is providing some funds as part of a dollar for dollar agreement. A number of campaigns have launched or are planned including: