Masks Are Now Mandatory On All International & Domestic Flights, Which Feels A Bit Late

Face masks will become mandatory on all domestic and international flights and in airports across the country, as Australia gears up to combat the new, more virulent strain of COVID-19 detected in Brisbane.

Seems like that would have been a good shout months ago, but hey, I’m no epidemiologist.

Speaking in Canberra today after a National Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Scott Morrison laid out a suite of changes to domestic and international air travel designed to slow the bastard virus’ spread.

All passengers and crew will be required to mask up on domestic and international trips, Morrison said, adding that flight staff will wear other PPE as appropriate.

“As an additional preventative measure to prevent spread, mask wearing will be mandatory in all domestic airports within Australia,” Morrison said.

Those measures will not apply to children under twelve, or those with genuine exemptions due to health concerns.

Until this point, carriers Qantas and Virgin Australia said they “strongly [recommended]” and “encouraged” passengers to wear masks, respectively.

Aussies are also advised to keep their masks on while travelling through foreign airports.

Further testing guidelines have been introduced for anyone hoping to travel to Australia, too.

“Travellers to Australia must return a negative COVID-19 test result prior to departure to Australia,” Morrison said, again adding that some very specific exemptions apply to those in locations where tests are difficult to undertake.

Existing hotel quarantine precautions will apply to them upon arrival, too.

International flight crew members will also be required to undergo a COVID-19 test every seven days or upon arrival.

Morrison said they’ll need to quarantine in “dedicated quarantine facilities” or for 14 days, with “no special rules for flight crews moving about”.

Beyond that, the number of international arrivals accepted by NSW, WA, and QLD will be cut by 50%.

At home, we can expect another change which, honestly, seems like it should have been instituted from the outset: workers in hotel quarantine schemes, as defined by each state or territory, will receive COVID-19 testing each and every day.

All of this comes hours after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a three-day lockdown of the Greater Brisbane region, in response to a single new infection detected in a hotel quarantine worker.

Morrison said he believed the snap shutdown was a “proportionate” response to the arrival of the fresh, highly-virulent COVID-19 strain on Australian soil.