South Korea has been added to Australia’s growing travel ban list due to concerns over the nation’s coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, while travelers coming from Italy will undergo extra screenings upon arrival.
That’s the latest word from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who today announced that foreign nationals will not be permitted into Australia for 14 days after departing South Korea.
The announcement brings brings guidelines for travelers arriving from South Korea into line with existing ban on foreign nationals arriving from China or Iran.
Morrison said Australian citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to enter Australia from South Korea, but will be required to self-isolate themselves for a fortnight before going about their everyday lives.
“We will also be upgrading the travel advice to level three, which is reconsider the need to travel to the Republic of Korea, and it will be at level four, which is do not travel, to the province of Daegu,” Morrison said.
Travelers from Italy will face hopped-up screening measures, including mandatory questioning prior to boarding a flight and temperature testing upon arrival.
Morrison said the travel ban was placed on South Korea and not for Italy due to “the much higher level of visitation and travel we are seeing from Korea than we are seeing from those who are coming out of Italy.”
To institute the same screening system for the number of travelers coming from South Korea would be “far more difficult,” the PM said.
As it stands, South Korea has recorded 5,766 Covid-19 infections and 35 deaths, while Italy has recorded 3,089 cases and 107 deaths.
The travel restrictions placed on Iran and China have also been expanded until March 14, with the Government slated to review those measures in a week’s time.
While acknowledging Australia will likely see an increase in confirmed cases, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said there was still no reason for Australians to panic or drastically alter their day-to-day activities.
“At the moment, and I’ve said this on many occasions too, there is no reason to put a mask on when you are walking around the shops, there is no reason to stop going to football matches or community activities, there is no reason to denude the shelves of lavatory paper in the supermarkets.”
“We should continue our normal activity.”
If you have any concerns, you can call the coronavirus information line on 1800 020 080. If you have health concerns, you can call healthdirect on 1800 022 222.